It began with a simple question. In December 2013, as Shawn Aiken and his wife arrived at their church in Tempe, Arizona, Joe Connolly, a fellow church member, asked Shawn whether he knew any lawyers who might be interested in challenging Arizona’s ban on same-sex marriage. Shawn thought about and discussed the case with his wife, Lynn, and decided that he did know a firm that would represent Joe and his husband, Terry Pochert—his own.
On January 6, 2014, less than a month later, his law firm, Aiken Schenk Hawkins & Ricciardi P.C., filed a lawsuit on behalf of Joe, Terry, and other Arizona couples, asking to strike all Arizona’s laws prohibiting same-sex marriage. On October 17, 2014, the Hon. John W. Sedwick found that Arizona’s ban on same-sex marriage was unconstitutional and that Arizona must recognize all marriages entered into in other states. In just ten months, Aiken Schenk had delivered on its promise. As a result, all Arizonans would have the freedom to marry the person they loved.
Aiken Schenk acknowledges the decades of hard work done by the LGBT community, especially Lambda Legal, HRC Arizona, Why Marriage Matters, ACLU, and others who laid the groundwork for Arizona’s (and the country’s) shift on same-sex marriage.
Aiken Schenk thanks the courageous clients who risked their privacy for the betterment of their community: Joe Connolly, Terry Pochert, Chris Devine, Mason Hite, Clark Rowley, David Chaney, Holly Mitchell, Suzanne Cummins, Meagan Metz, Natalie Metz, Renee Kaminski, Robin Reece, Jeff Ferst and Peter Bramley.
Finally, Aiken Schenk acknowledges the invaluable contributions of the members of the entire legal team, all of whom were instrumental in winning this historic lawsuit against the State of Arizona: Aiken Schenk attorneys Heather Macre and William Knight; Flagstaff co-counsel Mik Jordahl and Ryan Stevens; Ellen Aiken, a Scottsdale attorney; and, Phoenix attorneys Mark Dillon, Susan Bovee, and Herb Ely. Shawn thanks his family, especially his wife, Lynn, for her constant love and support; and, his son, Eric, a law student, and daughter, Ellen, both of whom contributed to the result in the case.
The lawyers at Aiken Schenk Hawkins & Ricciardi practice in the areas of business litigation, personal injury, bankruptcy, estate planning, and asset protection. The firm celebrates its 25th anniversary this year.