Americans United for Separation of Church and State

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Church State Issues

Will Montgomery treat same-sex marriage as...marriage?

Apr 16, 2015

Arizona Republic

EJ Montini, The Republic | 11:39 a.m. MST April 16, 2015

What part of marriage does Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery not understand?

In Arizona, thanks to a federal court ruling, same-sex marriage is legal.

That's it – legal.

No qualifications. Legal.

In Maricopa County, married couples are eligible to receive free legal services for adoption. Except, apparently, for same-sex couples. Montgomery's office was asked to help with the "stepparent" adoption of a same-sex married couple. The office refused.

Montgomery says the law won't allow him to do so, writing to the couple, "The 9th Circuit ruling addressing the issuance of marriage certificates does not, on its face, affect the adoption statutes."

The American Civil Liberties Union disagrees.

ACLU legal director Victoria Lopez sent a letter to Montgomery on behalf of the couple, saying in part, "Arizona same-sex married couples enjoy the same rights and privileges as opposite-sex married couples. The MCAO's continued enforcement of any policy to deny adoption services to same-sex married couples that are provided to heterosexual married couples will result in litigation."

It would be a waste of taxpayer money -- again -- to have this go to court.

Look at it from a different perspective.

It could be that Montgomery, for personal reasons, believes that same-sex marriage is just wrong.

I can respect his opinion, as I disagree with it. But in his professional capacity, his opinion does not matter.

At least it should not.

What if Montgomery believed that interracial marriage is wrong? What if he believed that a marriage between a Christian and a Jew is wrong? Would we be okay with him denying services to those couples?

Legal marriage is marriage.

The rest shouldn't matter. Not if you are sworn to uphold the law. Lots of different kinds of marriage are legal, including those involving same-sex couples.

So, maybe the question we should be asking Montgomery is one that we should never, EVER have to ask the elected Maricopa County Attorney:

What part of legal don't you understand?