On October 17, 2014, Arizona joined the historic tide legalizing the unions of same-sex couples that has swept the nation, expanding gay rights in a direction many never thought they would see in their lifetimes.
Many couples, some with children in tow, lined up at clerks’ offices around the state to be among the first to get their marriage licenses. Some brought along their clergy, hastily reciting their vows on courthouse steps. They had waited long enough, they said.
As rulings around the country have toppled laws banning same-sex couples from marrying, Arizona’s law appeared doomed. A federal judge ruled that Arizona’s law banning gay marriages was unconstitutional, but it wasn’t official until Attorney General Tom Horne announced a few hours later that he would not appeal.
Legal experts say the fate of Arizona’s law defining marriage as only between one man and one woman is now sealed. A ruling from the U.S. Supreme Court reinstating marriage bans is unlikely. The high court last week declined to take cases challenging laws in five states, in effect directing them to begin issuing licenses to same-sex couples.