Suit challenges Arizona same-sex marriage ban - DC News FOX 5 DC WTTG

Suit challenges Arizona same-sex marriage ban

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PHOENIX (KSAZ) -

There is a new effort to overturn the state's same-sex marriage ban. Today lawyers filed a federal lawsuit on behalf of 16 people who claim the state's ban violates their constitutional rights.

Arizona's Attorney General said he will defend the state in this lawsuit. The lead plaintiffs are a Scottsdale couple that have been together since the 1950s.

Melba Majors and Karen Bailey have been together for 56 years. They are also raising two of Karen's great grand nieces in North Scottsdale.

"I am just hoping the courts will listen and know that it is right. It's only right that we have the rights of other couples," said Karen Bailey.

With both in their mid-70s, one of their many concerns is end of life concerns.

"I know Karen better than anyone, and I know I love her more than anyone, and I should make those decisions for her," said Melda Majors.

They are one of seven couples and two surviving spouses named in the lawsuit.

"Because our clients are not able to marry, they are being denied equal protection of the laws which should be a birthright of all Americans. So they are being denied the fundamental freedom to marry the one they love. That's a denial of due process that's guaranteed to all of us by the U.S. Constitution," said Jennifer Pizer with Lambda Legal.

This lawsuit follows a national trend of groups suing states.

"It's kind of a waste of time. This case won't matter because ultimately some case will be decided by the Supreme Court," said Arizona Attorney General Tom Horn.

Horn is named in the lawsuit and will defend the state's marriage ban enacted by the legislature in 1996, and a constitutional amendment approved by voters in 2008.

"Reasonable people can disagree about gay marriage, but I do think that it's something that the people themselves should have a right to decide for themselves," said Horn.

Plaintiffs Jessica and Cathy Young have a seven-year-old son and only one of them is legally considered a mom.

"We have been together for ten years and raising our son ,and I have been his parent the whole time, but I don't have legal rights to him. This is an important day for us," said .

This is the second lawsuit seeking to overturn the ban to be filed in Arizona in just the past few months.

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