The Arizona Supreme Court tossed the case of two gay Phoenix men who appealed the denial of a “marriage” license in the lower courts, on Tuesday, May 25, 2004. Without comment, the state’s high court issued its refusal, and let stand an Arizona Court of Appeals ruling that same-sex couples are given no fundamental right to marry, either in the U.S. or Arizona constitutions.
The two men, Don Standhardt and Tod Keltner expressed grief, saying that they thought the State Court “would see the injustice in the law that discriminates against people.”
"The lower court's judgment was in the wrong. I thought the higher court should take it,” said Standhardt.
However, the Alliance Defense Fund – the Arizona-based organization of attorneys that stand for Christian and traditional values – celebrated the court’s decision; the ADF had filed a brief with the Supreme Court arguing against Standhardt and Keltner.
"This is a fantastic victory in the defense of marriage," the group's senior counsel, Gary McCaleb, said in a statement. "We are extremely pleased in the Arizona Supreme Court's decision not to hear the case. Arizona’s marriage laws are clear, the Arizona Court of Appeals understood that, and now the Supreme Court has agreed. The plaintiffs simply had no case.
The Standhardt case began on July 1, 2003, one day after the U.S. Supreme Court rejected anti-sodomy laws in Texas. The two men applied for a “marriage” license at the Clerk of the Superior Court’s Office in Pheonix, but they were denied because Arizona’s law – like that of 38 other states – explicitly forbids such “marriages.” The next week, they filed suit in the Arizona Court of Appeals, which sided with the clerk in refusing the license.
"I think the Supreme Court made the right decision," said state Sen. Mark Anderson, who spoke out against same-sex marriage in a brief filed with the court; the ADF represented Anderson on during the Feb. 11 brief.
“Although the majority of Americans consistently oppose same-sex ‘marriage,’ homosexual activists have filed lawsuit after lawsuit in an attempt to find radical judges who will tear down democratically enacted laws and impose a radical, nation-changing agenda on an unwilling public,” McCaleb said. “ADF-funded lawyers continue to work overtime in the highly complex legal battle to preserve traditional marriage across the country.”