By KJ Philp, Oct. 23, 2014. Back to Hall of Fame Home Page.
Fred McQuire and the late George Martinez made history when they became the first same-sex marriage legally recognized in the state of Arizona.
After sharing their lives for 45 years, the couple wed in California earlier this year after Martinez was diagnosed with Stage IV pancreatic cancer and was told that he only has months to live. Martinez passed away Aug. 28 and, on Sept. 3, Lambda Legal filed emergency papers asking the U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona to order the state to provide McQuire with an accurate death certificate to for his husband, Martinez.
On Sept. 12, U.S. District Judge John W. Sedwick ordered Arizona to recognize the men’s marriage and ordered Arizona Department of Health services to “prepare, issue and accept” a death certificate that lists McQuire as Martinez’s surviving spouse.
Both men are veterans of the U.S. Armed Forces; Martinez served in the U.S. Air Force in Vietnam, and McQuire served in both the U.S. Air Force and the U.S. Army and was stationed in Guam.
After his military service, Martinez joined the staff of Arizona’s Court of Appeals in Tucson, where he became the court’s first Deputy Clerk. He served in that role for 30 years before the couple retired to Green Valley.
“George loved it [here],” McQuire said. “It’s so beautiful and quiet and peaceful. As he was going through chemo, he kept saying he wanted a couple of more years to live in Green Valley.”
Meet the rest of the Class of 2014: