4 gay couples sue to marry in Arizona

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Four gay couples seeking to marry filed a lawsuit on Jan. 6 against the state of Arizona in U.S. District Court.

The couples, in the 24-page court document, named as defendants Gov. Jan Brewer, Attorney General Thomas Horne and Maricopa Clerk of the Superior Court Michael Jeanes.

In the suit, the couples noted a Supreme Court ruling from a decade ago that struck down consensual sodomy statutes in the United States and found that the Constitution protects the choice of a gay person to have an intimate relationship "without intervention of the government."

The suit also refers to the more recent Supreme Court ruling striking a key provision in the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act that barred the federal government from recognizing same-sex marriages.

The couples asked the district court to strike down Arizona's ban on same-sex marriage found in the state constitution and also in the statutes.

Gay couples can marry in D.C. and 17 states and, until Jan. 6, also could marry in Utah. The Supreme Court put same-sex marriages on hold in Utah until an appeal of a federal court ruling in another lawsuit can be reviewed.