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 discussed the case with his family 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 laws prohibiting same-sex marriage. On October 17, 2014, the Hon. John W. Sedwick ruled 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 now have the freedom to marry the person they love.
Aiken Schenk acknowledges the decades of hard work done by the LGBT community – especially Lambda Legal, HRC Arizona, Why Marriage Matters, the ACLU and countless others – that laid the groundwork for Arizona’s (and the nation’s) profound shift on marriage equality.
Aiken Schenk thanks its courageous clients who risked their privacy for the betterment of their community:
- Joe Connolly and Terry Pochert
- Chris Devine and Mason Hite
- Clark Rowley and David Chaney
- Holly Mitchell and Suzanne Cummins
- Meagan and Natalie Metz
- Renee Kaminski and Robin Reece
- Jeff Ferst and Peter Bramley.
Finally, Aiken Schenk acknowledges the invaluable contributions of the members of the entire legal team, each of whom was instrumental in winning this historic lawsuit against the State of Arizona:
- Aiken Schenk attorneys Heather Macre and Will Knight
- Flagstaff co-counsel Mik Jordahl and Ryan Stevens
- Phoenix-area lawyers Ellen Aiken, Mark Dillon, Susan Bovee and Herb Ely
many ASU volunteer law students
- Shawn thanks his family, especially his wife, Lynn, for her constant love and support, and their son, Eric, an ASU law student, and daughter, Ellen, both of whom contributed to the groundbreaking result in this case.
The lawyers at Aiken Schenk Hawkins & Ricciardi practice in the areas of business litigation, personal injury, estate planning, asset protection, and bankruptcy. The firm celebrated its 25th anniversary last year.
Shawn Aiken will be accepting the award on behalf of Aiken Schenk.