Arizona won't challenge gay marriage ruling

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By Mike Gertzman By Mike Gertzman

PHOENIX (AP) -- Arizona's conservative attorney general, Tom Horne, says he won't challenge a federal court ruling that allows gay marriages to go forward in the state.

Horne's announcement Friday comes hours after a District Court decision that strikes down a 1996 state law and a 2008 voter-approved constitutional amendment that outlawed gay marriage.

U.S. District Judge John Sedwick's decision came after the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruling Oct. 7 that gay marriage prohibitions in Nevada and Idaho violated the equal-protection rights of same-sex couples.

Last week, the U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear appeals from several states seeking to retain their bans on same-sex marriage.

The move effectively legalized gay marriage in about 30 states.

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PHOENIX (AP) -- A federal judge has struck down Arizona's ban on gay marriage and cleared the way for legally recognized same-sex unions in the state.

The ruling Friday by U.S. District Judge John Sedwick bars state officials from enforcing a 1996 state law and a 2008 voter-approved constitutional amendment that outlawed gay marriage.

Sedwick ordered the state to "permanently cease" its ban on gay marriage and declined to stay his order.

The Arizona decision came after the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled on Oct. 7 that gay marriage prohibitions in Nevada and Idaho violated the equal-protection rights of same-sex couples.

Last week, the U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear appeals from several states seeking to retain their bans on same-sex marriage.

The move effectively legalized gay marriage in about 30 states.

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Statement from Governor Jan Brewer

Ruling on Arizona’s Constitutional Amendment Defining Marriage

“In 2008, Arizona voters approved a state constitutional amendment to define marriage as a union of one man and one woman. Now, with their rulings, the federal courts have again thwarted the will of the people and further eroded the authority of states to regulate and uphold our laws.

“It is not only disappointing, but also deeply troubling, that unelected federal judges can dictate the laws of individual states, create rights based on their personal policy preferences and supplant the will of the people in an area traditionally left to the states for more than two hundred years. As Justice Scalia opined, such action is tantamount to ‘an assertion of judicial su¬premacy over the people’ and is an image of the judiciary ‘that would have been unrecognizable to those who wrote and ratified our national charter.’

“Simply put, courts should not be in the business of making and changing laws based on their personal agendas. It is not the role of the judiciary to determine that same-sex marriages should be allowed. Historically and traditionally, that power belongs to the states, and to the people. If society wants to recognize same-sex marriage or civil unions, that decision should be made through our elected representatives or at the ballot – not the courts.”

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