Thursday, February 12, 2009

Freedom to Marry Day Event in Tucson

(H/T Buck Bannister with Rainbow Foot Soldiers.)

TUCSON (Observer Update) - There was an unexpected turn of events at the Freedom to Marry Day counter action in Tucson Arizona.Two couples entered the Superior Court building to request marriage licenses. The couples, one male and one female, went to separate clerks.

The male couple were told that if they changed “female” to “male” on the form it would be invalid. Questioning the clerk they were told that if they left the female part intact they could issue the license but they would have to swear an oath that “all information contained on the form is true” and that any incorrect or misleading information would be grounds for perjury.

Since they would not commit perjury, the license was denied.

Simultaneously a lesbian couple at a separate clerk requested a license and were told that if they swore the oath they would be “attesting to the information you have provided on the form.” Since they had not written the genders they submitted the form and the license was issued to them.

The issuance came as a complete surprise and shock to those assembled and seemed to concern the police present who gathered outside the door to the office and shortly ordered the gathering crowd of supporters and reporters to clear away from the front of the building.

Calls were made by Denise Heap who helped organize the event to Marriage Equality USA to request information and direction.

It is unclear at this point whether the license will stand and after the male couple offered to return to get one as well using the same information given to the lesbian couple, the legal experts cautioned against it until the legality of whether signing the form could be determined.

The entire episode was shocking, especially considering the lesbian couple had not originally been scheduled to be part of the event but volunteered at the last moment.

The two women, Theresa and Sheri, have been together for two years.

More information will be available as this story unfolds!

UPDATE: Clerk of Court claims that the couple lied about both being women and that the license was issued as a result of “fraud.” This is not true. Michael and I were being denied a license at the same time two windows away. Originally the couple filled out a form with the same information we did by scratching out the gender portion. Then they returned for a second form that they filled out without the scratch out. Neither appear to be a man and they clearly told the clerk they were both female and she issued the license with her supervisor watching.

Also, Marriage Equality USA has consulted a local family lawyer who says that the license application in Pima County is not legal as the statute does not require someone to swear to their gender. Therefore, the license should be valid because the form exceeds the statute laying out how the form should be worded.

This is going to get really interesting… stay tuned.

No comments: