Lawyers ask judge to decide same-sex marriage case without trial

Lawyers have asked a judge to decide a case concerning the constitutionality of Arizona’s same-sex marriage ban without a trial.

Both sides in case say judge can decide case based on arguments filed

A case that could decide the constitutionality of Arizona's same-sex marriage ban will likely be decided by a judge without the need for a trial, according to the East Valley Tribune. Lawyers for both the state and a group of same-sex couples and spouses said that they believe the judge in the case can make a decision, called a summary judgment, based on arguments that will be filed by both sides rather than resorting to a trial.

Same-sex marriage ban challenged

National gay-rights organization Lambda Legal filed the lawsuit on behalf of seven couples and two surviving spouses, according to the Arizona Republic. The lawsuit claims that Arizona's state law banning recognition of same-sex marriages violates the U.S. Constitution, in particular the clauses guaranteeing due process and equal protection. Another class-action suit against the ban is also making its way through the courts and could be decided before the Lambda Legal lawsuit is decided.

If the judge grants the request then arguments would be heard between now and October. Based on other similar rulings this year, if the judge ultimately decides in favor of lifting the state's ban then same-sex marriage could achieve legal recognition in Arizona by the end of the year.

Other cases may set tone

Two other cases concerning similar bans in Idaho and Nevada could provide some direction for the judge deciding the Arizona case. A federal judge struck down Idaho's ban, while another federal court upheld Nevada's ban. Both cases are being appealed to the 9 th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, whose territory includes Arizona. However, since arguments in those appeals will not begin until September, if the Arizona case goes ahead without a trial then it may be decided before the 9 th Circuit Court can issue its own decision.

Arizona is one of 31 states that currently prohibit same-sex marriage with legal challenges against those bans having been filed in all 31 states. Courts have struck down same-sex marriage bans in 11 states this year alone, although those cases are still pending appeals.

Same-sex marriage issues

The above story is an important reminder that, while same-sex couples in Arizona do not yet enjoy legal recognition of same-sex marriage that fact could change at any time.

Despite Arizona's ban on same-sex marriage, it is still possible for same-sex couples to protect some of their rights, such as by comingling assets and sharing property. To find out what rights are available to same-sex couples in Arizona it is important to talk to a qualified family law attorney beforehand. An experienced attorney can use his or her knowledge of the latest legal developments to make sure same-sex couples enjoy the most rights and benefits possible under Arizona law.

Keywords: same-sex marriage ban, Arizona, same-sex couples, rights