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BREAKING: Lesbian Couple Obtain Marriage License In Arizona

Jim Burroway

February 12th, 2009

In what was supposed to be a demonstration on National Freedom to Marry day yielded a surprising turn of events for one Tucson couple (KGUN9):

A demonstration to make a point about same sex marriage led to a surprise at the Pima County Courthouse Thursday.  As part of what’s called Freedom to Marry day, same sex couples around the country attempted to get marriage licenses. Two men say the clerks turned them down after they crossed out female on the forms and replaced it with male, but two women walked out with license in hand.  The couple says they made it clear they were both women but did not try to cross out the word male.  Superior Court Clerk Patti Noland says she doesn’t ask clerks to verify gender. She says she regards the couple’s application as a fraud.

Arizona voters passed Proposition 102 last November, which added a constitutional amendment which restricts marriage to a man and a woman.

Here’s some amateur video of the some reactions of disbelief:

YouTube Preview Image

The couple have been identified only as Theresa and Sheri. They have been together for two years. According to Rainbow Footsoldiers:

Clerk of Court claims that the couple lied about both being women and that the license was issued as a result of  “fraud.” This is not true. Michael and I were being denied a license at the same time two windows away. Originally the couple filled out a form with the same information we did by scratching out the gender portion. Then they returned for a second form that they filled out without the scratch out. Neither appear to be a man and they clearly told the clerk they were both female and she issued the license with her supervisor watching.

Also, Marriage Equality USA has consulted a local family lawyer who says that the license application in Pima County is not legal as the statute does not require someone to swear to their gender. Therefore, the license should be valid because the form exceeds the statute laying out how the form should be worded.

I’m no lawyer, but I doubt that “local family lawyer’s” reasoning will get very far in court.

Comments

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KipEsquire
February 12th, 2009 | LINK

Last time I checked, low-level scrivener bureaucrat flunkies do not have the power of judicial review.

Dave
February 12th, 2009 | LINK

Why gay activists think stupid stunts like this are a good thing is beyond me.

Emily K
February 12th, 2009 | LINK

Kinda like how Ghandi “stupidly” pulled a stunt by walking miles to the ocean to make salt in an act of civil disobedience against the British in India.

To walk into a government building and request an official form be validated is not a “stunt.” Please. This act has all the excitement and danger of when I got my driver’s license renewed.

Daniel Gonzales
February 13th, 2009 | LINK

What does gender have to do with a government form? Last I checked my drivers license gave my sex, not gender.

Ephilei
February 13th, 2009 | LINK

This was a great act of civil disobedience. It’s the attempt and failure of all those couples to get married that’s meaningful, not the one success.

@Daniel
The government is savvy enough to know the difference and act consistently.

Ricky
February 13th, 2009 | LINK

I agree with Dave – liberal militants and activist judges are only going to hurt our cause. The average citizen is getting fed up with us forcing our lifestyle down their throats. The African-American community achieved civil rights through hard work and respectful achievement. It’s embarrassing to see our flamboyant militants making a mockery of the institution of marriage. Like Tammy Bruce said, most of these freaks will be divorced within a year anyways.

CPT_Doom
February 13th, 2009 | LINK

The average citizen is getting fed up with us forcing our lifestyle down their throats. The African-American community achieved civil rights through hard work and respectful achievement.

Sit-ins and bus boycotts are “respectful”? The Freedom Riders weren’t “forcing” the “lifestyle” of integration down people’s throats? Pickets of national chains to force their Southern stores to integrate isn’t “in your face”? Give me a break.

And Good on this clerk. She is clearly following the law here, because there is a MAJOR problem with every single anti-gay marriage law out there. They don’t define what is a “man” or a “woman.” There is no enforcement of the law – no visual checks of genetalia, no genetic tests to rule out those who are intersex – the entire process is based on the honor system.

I think we should go farther than simply demonstrating the existence of bigotry. We ought to be at every wedding in every state that passed an anti-gay hate law and demand proof of the couple’s compliance with man/woman laws. We ought to be filing suit to challenge the legality of every single marriage in every single state with a man/woman law.

Mombian: Sustenance for Lesbian Moms » Blog Archive » Weekly Political Roundup
February 13th, 2009 | LINK

[…] In celebration of Freedom to Marry Week, same-sex couples applied for marriage licenses around the country, including Dallas, Las Vegas, and New York, only to be turned away—although one resourceful lesbian couple managed to get one in Tucson, Arizona. […]

Jason D
February 13th, 2009 | LINK

“It’s embarrassing to see our flamboyant militants making a mockery of the institution of marriage. Like Tammy Bruce said, most of these freaks will be divorced within a year anyways.”

No, what’s embarassing is that you’ve neglected to educate yourself about the past civil rights movement or the current one. You know nothing of either, and I’m rather embarassed for you that you seem to be so willing to speak freely about subjects you clearly haven’t bothered to educate yourself on. I guess perhaps if Tammy Bruce hasn’t said it, it isn’t worth reading, hmm?

Dave
February 13th, 2009 | LINK

Emily K,

It is I who must say please to you for comparing Ghandi’s civil disobedience against economic injustice to a couple of woman getting an illegal marriage license.

The law of Arizona has always considered marriage to be exclusively between a man and a woman. The people of the state just voted to amend their constitution to preclude changing that definition.

Why? Because for most people the phrase “same-sex marriage” is oxymoronic. Their minds are not going to be changed by two woman making a big deal about how they managed to get a marriage license from a clerk.

Timothy Kincaid
February 13th, 2009 | LINK

Dave,

It is you who are applying your own emotional associations in order to construct differences between the civil disobedience of Ghandi or King and that of marriage protesters. Taken dispassionately (ie not liking or disliking one or the other), the efforts and methods are strikingly similar.

But if you think that two women “making a big deal about” highlighting inequalities in the state will not influence the populace, then I’m sure you will act on that thinking.

I, on the other hand, have a great deal of faith in the basic instinct towards decency that is part of the American conscience. And I believe that in time Americans – and, indeed, Arizonans – will recognize that these women are denied rights and equalities that others take for granted and will come to empathize with their plight.

And I believe that every instance in which a gay couple stands up and points at inequality and indignity only serves to move Americans towards the day in which they no longer can look away or not notice that their behavior towards their gay neighbors is inconsistent with fairness and decency.

But I have to admit that I’m glad when those who oppose marriage equality disagree with my expectations. I’m glad when they think that such civil disobedience only only helps their cause. Because then they tend not to get in the way or work against what I believe to be an effective tool in bringing about equality.

Andrew
February 13th, 2009 | LINK

That couple should sue for defamation. Calling their action “fraud” is not necessarily “protected speech.”

Andrew
February 13th, 2009 | LINK

And for those who are whining about actions these folks were willing to take (but the whiners apparently are not), what’s the point of your complaining? Keyboard cynics aren’t exactly helping move the world forward, are they?

Emily K
February 14th, 2009 | LINK

Economic injustice: taxing salt unfairly.

Economic injustice: keeping a same-sex spouse from having the economic benefits that an opposite-sex spouse has.

Sounds pretty similar to me.

And in Ghandi’s case, his act was not only “illegal,” but prompted non-violent illegal acts all over India. It was extremely effective.

I hope gays continue to attempt to obtain marriage licenses no matter where they live. If anybody would be in the legal “wrong,” it would be the clerk for validating the document.

Dave
February 15th, 2009 | LINK

Emily K,

This is getting tiring.

The economic injustice to which I referred was the Indian people being taxed on a necessity by a foreign ruling power. The point of British policies was to keep the Indians dependent on the British Empire.

You can’t sensibly compare unfair treatment of homosexual couples with the oppression of an entire nation by its colonial rulers.

I hope gays continue to attempt to obtain marriage licenses no matter where they live. If anybody would be in the legal “wrong,” it would be the clerk for validating the document.

Obtaining worthless licenses (and tempting clerks to do something possibly illegal in the process) is going to achieve what exactly?

I return your attention to what I said in my first reply:

for most people the phrase “same-sex marriage” is oxymoronic. Their minds are not going to be changed by two woman making a big deal about how they managed to get a marriage license from a clerk.

Civil disobedience isn’t going to convince gay marriage opponents, who are about two-thirds the population, of anything.

The only way to achieve recognition of the spousal relationship of homosexual couples is to demonstrate that doing so is in society’s best interest.

Dave
February 15th, 2009 | LINK

Timothy,

You tell me,

It is you who are applying your own emotional associations in order to construct differences between the civil disobedience of Ghandi or King and that of marriage protesters. Taken dispassionately (ie not liking or disliking one or the other), the efforts and methods are strikingly similar.

My first response to this was: “so what?”

Approached dispassionately, Ghandi directed his efforts against a distant colonial ruler; King’s efforts were against the racists of the southeast.

Against whom are these woman directing their efforts? Whose consciousness do they want to raise? The answer is Arizonans who don’t agree that marriage can properly be a homosexual institution.

Unlike the targets of Ghandi and King, these people have not set out to be oppressors. The state hasn’t recognized and protected opposite-sex marriage because it wants to reward people for being hetero or punish people for being homo.

Opposite-sex marriage has the cultural and legal status is enjoys because of the importance of the husband-wife relationship to society. As I told Emily K, convincing people that recognizing same-sex spousal relationships is in society’s best interest is the only way to go.

Whining about the unfairness and inequality of the present situation will not overcome most Americans thoughts and feelings on marriage.

If such complaints about how homosexuals “are denied rights and equalities that others take for granted” were, effective, they would have worked long since.

That, after all, has been the tack taken by the “marriage equality” movement. What’s that movement’s record of success against the anti-gay-marriage crowd in the states?

But I have to admit that I’m glad when those who oppose marriage equality disagree with my expectations. I’m glad when they think that such civil disobedience only only helps their cause.

Huh?

Just what do you think my cause is?

Also: I essentially asked the question, Why do gay activists think such stupid stunts are a good idea? H
Just how did you deduce any position for or against the recognition of gay spouses (“marriage equality” is just a slogan of the left) from my asking such a question?

You do know what they say about assuming, don’t you, Timothy?

Mark
February 16th, 2009 | LINK

“Unlike the targets of Ghandi and King, these people have not set out to be oppressors. The state hasn’t recognized and protected opposite-sex marriage because it wants to reward people for being hetero or punish people for being homo.”

Lord no, the state has never wanted to punish people for being “homo.” Rolls eyes. And nobody has ever wanted to oppress gays. Heavens to betsy, no. Lord in heaven, save us from such idiocy.

Now I will grant you that some anti-gay people do not think they are being opressors, just like racists used to justify themselves as acting in the best interests of society or God. So what?

Timothy Kincaid
February 16th, 2009 | LINK

You can’t sensibly compare unfair treatment of homosexual couples with the oppression of an entire nation by its colonial rulers.

That you cannot see the commonality is startling but not surprising.

The state hasn’t recognized and protected opposite-sex marriage because it wants to reward people for being hetero or punish people for being homo.

The sole purpose for recognition of marriage is the promotion of some forms of family unit and the discouraging of others. Marriage, with legal ties and social expectations, was supported because it was determined to be best.

The sole objection to including same-sex couples under the definition of marriage is so as to continue the promotion of heterosexual coupling and discourage homosexual coupling.

This is the primary debate on every legislative floor, in every anti-gay campaign, and on every anti-gay-marriage website. Or have you not been paying attention?

Timothy Kincaid
February 16th, 2009 | LINK
But I have to admit that I’m glad when those who oppose marriage equality disagree with my expectations. I’m glad when they think that such civil disobedience only only helps their cause.

Huh?

Just what do you think my cause is?

Also: I essentially asked the question, Why do gay activists think such stupid stunts are a good idea? H
Just how did you deduce any position for or against the recognition of gay spouses (”marriage equality” is just a slogan of the left) from my asking such a question?

You do know what they say about assuming, don’t you, Timothy?

Whatever makes you think I’m referencing you? Don’t assume everything is about you, Dave.

I’m just glad whenever anyone who opposes equality under the law for all citizens disagrees with me about what tactics work. When those haters of freedom – whoever they may be – think my efforts are ineffective, maybe they’ll be motivated to support them.

And what a wonderful thing that would be. Especially if I’m right and they’re wrong.

Don’t you agree, Dave?

Dave
February 17th, 2009 | LINK

Lord no, the state has never wanted to punish people for being “homo.” Rolls eyes. And nobody has ever wanted to oppress gays. Heavens to betsy, no. Lord in heaven, save us from such idiocy.

I have to wonder why I bother to dialogue with people at this site when I encounter such willful obtuseness as this. (And yes, my eyes are rolling right now.)

The fact that states have wanted to punish homosexual behavior and people have wanted to oppress homosexuals is completely irrelevant to me point — a point which was crystal clear.

Nevertheless let me spell it out for you yet again, Mark:

Those people who “have not set out to be oppressors” are those “Arizonans who don’t agree that marriage can properly be a homosexual institution.”

Do yourself and everyone else a favor, Mark, and thoroughly read my comments before you criticise them.

Dave
February 17th, 2009 | LINK

Timothy,

Whenever a comment is directed at me I tend to think that all of it refers to me or what I wrote unless it explicitly states otherwise.

You wrote,

I believe that every instance in which a gay couple stands up and points at inequality and indignity only serves to move Americans towards the day in which they no longer can look away or not notice that their behavior towards their gay neighbors is inconsistent with fairness and decency.

Since my skepticism about the marriage license stunt makes it clear I disagree with you on the “every instance” point, it seemed reasonable to believe that you were referring to me when you continued with “I’m glad when [gay marriage opponents] think that such civil disobedience only only helps their cause.”

I regret any misunderstanding on my part.

When those haters of freedom – whoever they may be – think my efforts are ineffective, maybe they’ll be motivated to support them.

I wouldn’t count on that.

Dave
February 17th, 2009 | LINK

I’m sorry, Timothy,

but no matter how unfair you find the distinctions the governments in this country currently make between homosexuality and heterosexuality, it isn’t sensible to compare these distinctions to colonial laws meant to keep a nation in a state of perpetual dependence.

The sole purpose for recognition of marriage is the promotion of some forms of family unit and the discouraging of others.

This is for the most part true. Our culture’s laws and mores are supporting monogamy over polygamy.

The sole objection to including same-sex couples under the definition of marriage is so as to continue the promotion of heterosexual coupling and discourage homosexual coupling.

Here we disagree. As I’ve pointed out before, many Americans are all in favor of recognizing same-sex couples without calling them marriages. And recognizing homosexual coupling under a title other than “marriage” would hardly be discouraging it.

Heterosexual marriage is an ancient institution with multiple layers of meaning. Socially, it provides the pattern for responsible procreation. Culturally, (and I’ve also said this before) it represents the archetypal relationship of the mutually arising. In both aspects marriage can be about such only if it is exclusively heterosexual. It should be unsurprising that many people wish to maintain the various meanings that marriage has had.

I have to say that your attitude on this issue– which is that adopted by the American Left — is one that smacks of ‘my way or the highway.’ No compromise is allowed. In this regard it is very much like that of the Christian Right.

Timothy Kincaid
February 17th, 2009 | LINK
When those haters of freedom – whoever they may be – think my efforts are ineffective, maybe they’ll be motivated to support them.

I wouldn’t count on that.

OK, I’ll defer to your expertise about the motivations of the haters of freedom.

And, incidentally, I found it amusing that you discounted my assertion that gay marriage bans are about preferencing heterosexual and discouraging homosexual relationship.

Were you intending to be ironic when you followed it with an obvious illustration of exactly my point?

Emily K
February 17th, 2009 | LINK

I have to say that your attitude on this issue– which is that adopted by the American Left — is one that smacks of ‘my way or the highway.’ No compromise is allowed. In this regard it is very much like that of the Christian Right.

Boy, you know a person is running out of steam when they are reduced to partisan finger-pointing. (And you don’t need to be a member of any party to be reduced to partisan finger-pointing.)

Jason D
February 17th, 2009 | LINK

“Heterosexual marriage is an ancient institution with multiple layers of meaning. Socially, it provides the pattern for responsible procreation.”

Considering the divorce rate, especially in the “Pro-Family” areas of the country (MA, after the onset of marriage equality, STILL has the lowest divorce rate, btw)and the amount of out-of-wedlock births in this country, it’s all to clear that straight people didn’t give a damn about marriage until recently, treating marriages like tissues, to be used up and discarded.

This reminds me of when I was a child. My brother would throw a toy away, deciding he no longer liked or wanted this toy. I would rescue it from the garbage and he would protest “Hey, that’s mine!”
Because I saw the value in the object, he suddenly cared about something that just yesterday was on it’s way to the landfill.
It wasn’t a matter of whether it had value to him, he simply didn’t like the idea of me touching something that he still considered his property, even though he didn’t care for it any more.

The parallels are striking, aren’t they?

TJ McFisty
February 17th, 2009 | LINK

Pfft, Jason, one of my dogs treats his elder sibling the same way right now! No matter what toy the older one has, the baby brute has to have that particular one and discards it quickly after yanks it from the older dog’s mouth.

As long as the older one has nothing, the younger’s content. Status quo maintained.

Dave
February 17th, 2009 | LINK

Emily K,

You have a strange definition of “partisan finger-pointing” if you think pointing out a similarity in attitude between two arguments amounts to such.

I’d say it was you who ran out of steam some time ago as you have long since stopped attempting cogent counterarguments.

Dave
February 17th, 2009 | LINK

Jason D,

I understand the parallels in your example. I basically said as much on this blog when I agreed with Prof. Gabilindo (Gabilando? — I’m afraid I’ve forgotten the spelling) that a lot of what we see in the debate about gay marriage and other gay issues is overreaching by the majority.

Still, to say that “straight people didn’t give a damn about marriage until recently” is going too far.

Dave
February 17th, 2009 | LINK

Timothy,

What?

My “I wouldn’t count on that” statement wasn’t meant as a proclamation of expertise on “the motivations of the haters of freedom.” It was a comment on the incoherence of your argument.

You then go on to tell me:

And, incidentally, I found it amusing that you discounted my assertion that gay marriage bans are about preferencing heterosexual and discouraging homosexual relationship.

Were you intending to be ironic when you followed it with an obvious illustration of exactly my point?

I just don’t follow you here. Just what did I say after “Here we disagree” that you think illustrates your point?

Timothy Kincaid
February 17th, 2009 | LINK

Oh, I think that I’ll just let my observations stand on their own.

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