Arizona stuck with $500,000 legal bill for equal marriage battle

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The state of Arizona has been landed with a $500,000 legal bill, after its court battle over same-sex marriage.

District Judge John Sedwick ruled in October 2014 that the state’s constitutional amendment defining marriage as between a man and a woman was no longer enforceable.

Fighting the case has landed the state with a hefty legal bill – which came just months before the US Supreme Court brought equality to all 50 states anyway.

According to the Arizona Daily Sun, Judge Sedwick this week approved an agreement for the Attorney General’s Office to pay $300,000 in legal fees and reimburse $2,000 costs to the pro-marriage legal group, Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund.

The law firm represented lead plaintiffs Karen Bailey and Nelda Majors in the case – a lesbian couple who waited 57 years for their right to marry.

It is the second payout over equal marriage – with the state already shelling out $200,000 to attorney Shawn Aiken over a separate challenge to the ban.

Jenny Pizer of Lambda Legal said the state was getting off easy – as the bill covers a large amount of work.
Arizona stuck with $500,000 legal bill for equal marriage battle
She said: “This reflects, among other things, the quality and efficiency of our work and resulting reasonableness of the hourly rates charged.”

The attorney also warned that litigation on a number of issues may still be necessary – including survivor benefits, property ownership and even divorce – as many laws have not been updated to account for equal marriage.

Watch a clip about plaintiffs Karen Bailey and Nelda Majors below:

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