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Lesbian Couple Issued Marriage License in Arizona

Today, at the Freedom to Marry Day counter action in Tucson, AZ a lesbian couple found a loop-hole and used it to get a “valid” marriage license. The validity of the issuance and the truthfulness of the couple are already being called into question. Let the controversy begin!

The event was sponsored by the Marriage Equality USA – Arizona chapter. It is similar to many other such events happening today through Saturday. The other events are also sponsored by local Marriage Equality USA chapters (link to listing below). Basically, same-sex couples are going into local clerk’s offices and requesting a marriage license. All most every one of these has and will be denied. The object here is to bring local attention to the issue. Enter the resourceful and crafty lesbians of Arizona.

sheri_abigail_license-smallWhile on their lunch break, Sheri and Theresa decide to stop by the local Tuscon event to lend their support. During the event they decide to go for it. After being committed to each other for over 2 years, why not? ‘Let’s get married’! The couple could hear the reasons the other couples there were being denied. Because they either inaccurately filled out the “gender” section or, God forbid, filled it out truthfully and accurately. But these these ladies noticed something.

You don’t have to fill out the “gender” section. The assistant clerk at the ladies window agreed. Voilà! A lesbian couple gets a marriage license in Arizona! It all boils down to this loophole .. The state statute governing the wording of marriage licenses does not require a person to swear an oath attesting to their gender. If you fill it out and lie, you’ve committed perjury. If you fill it out truthfully, well… they’ll deny it. But nothing says you have to provide information that isn’t required…

Now here’s where it gets fun. According to a friend in Arizona, Kimberly Matas, of the Arizona Daily Star, will be reporting tomorrow that the clerk that issued the license to Sheri and Theresa claims the couple lied to her about their gender. Seriously? She knew damn well they are female. First off, there was nothing but same-sexers applying for marriage licenses and the clerks office knew this, as did the police outside running off demonstrators. Second, they told her they were a lesbian couple. Third, they actually look like women! Fourth, if she thought they were a hetero couple…then why was she questioning them? Why did she call over her supervisor for assistance? Sounds like BS to me. What do you think?

But we know right now, the various anti-queer groups are out there are on the phones calling everyone they can. Hoping to get this legal and valid marriage license revoked. But have no fear. We are mobilized and ready to defend this couples marriage. Marriage Equality USA is working with or contacting Lambda Legal, NCLR, GLAAD and the ACLU. Plus, all the local chapters of Marriage Equality USA are spreading the word… and of course there is this gay blog and the legion of GLBT bloggers I call ‘friend’.

Love will prevail!!!

you can find out more about Freedom to Marry Day counter action at Marriage Equality USA or download the list of events via pdf.

What do you think? Should the license be upheld? Are you packing your bags right now… to get your marriage license in Tucson, AZ?

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12 comments

  1. I’m can’t believe this happened… But I’m not surprised at the quick slanderous response from the clerk’s office. However, the amount of people and Orgs that are mobilizing to defend Sheri & Theresa’s marriage rights…. Means that this license will not go quietly in to the night…

  2. The loophole actually happened because of the wording of two different clerks. We (the other couple) were told if we filled out the section that said “Bride:(Female)” with a male’s information then swore the oath that all the information was correct and valid we would commit perjury which is a crime.

    The clerk helping Sheri and Theresa told them they would have to swear that the information they “provided on the form” was valid. Since they did not write their genders because it was pre-printed they felt safe going forward and the license was issued.

    The small variation in wording in the verbal instructions about the form opened the door to at least one of the two couples.

    I’m so thrilled they thought so quickly and understood how the instructions they were given by their clerk could insulate them from perjury charges. In addition the form used in Pima County does not follow state guidelines that do not call for a gender to be pre-printed on the form. Pima County’s form therefore alters the language of the state statute by requiring a stated gender by virtue of simply filling in your name.

    This will be a very interesting process to watch. If the first round shows that simply placing a your name in a pre-assigned gender slot and not being of that gender is not illegal, we’ll be back to get our own license and join the fight to have our marriage recognized.

  3. This is great!! Perfect argument. Does the state have the right to inquire about the gender of the marrying couple if the information is not provided by the applicants? Hmmmm……

  4. Can I marry a goat? Don’t you dare judge me.

  5. @Patrick Britton, If you feel you can have a loving, committed and CONSENSUAL relationship with an adult…um…er….goat…By all means, go for it. It will just make us queers that much more normal.

  6. Amazing.

    Fucking amazing.

    I’m not gonna pack my bags just yet, but this is good news! And the nerve of the clerk to be so stupid and play the dumb blonde roll is pretty pathetic.

    But that’s sweet they found that loop hole

  7. Hahaha! This is awesome. Has someone tipped off CNN yet?

    • @Kyle, Yes… I know that a segment producer at CNN-HLN is onto the story. I fully expected them to be running the hell out of it today. But the plane crash in NY last night, is eating up the news-cycle :(

  8. I loved the comments on the AZ star article. Great discussion for the most part.

  9. I happen to think gay marriage is fine, even as a conservative. The constitution simply states that any power not delegated by the constitution should be decided by the states. I say let each state decide. That means your marriage is only valid in certain states but it also allows anyone so worried about it to move to a state that doesn’t allow it. In the event that all states allow it so be it. I understand that everyone just wants to be equal and if it’s constitutional I wouldn’t see any issue with it.

  10. Gr8 post!

  11. Unfortunately, the couple has no real legal recourse, as same-sex marriage is, of course, banned in Arizona. Even if the newlyweds were to prove that the clerk knew that both applicants were women, the marriage would be overturned anyway–loophole or not.

    On the bright side, this helps to illustrate the inequality same-sex couples face, which will only help booster public opinion for gay rights.

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