Judge won't merge suits on same-sex marriage ban

PHOENIX - A federal judge is refusing to combine two separately filed lawsuits challenging Arizona's ban on same-sex marriage.

However, U.S. District Judge John Sedwick ordered that both cases be assigned to him. One already was assigned to Sedwick but a second was randomly assigned to a different judge.

Lawyers who filed the second lawsuit had requested consolidation, arguing that both cases involve the same issues.

Lawyers who filed the first lawsuit responded by saying their case is further along and they also cited differences in the cases, including that they share only one common defendant.

Sedwick said he agreed with those concerns.

Sedwick is a federal judge for Alaska, but he is among various federal judges who also hear cases in Arizona because of the Arizona court's heavy workload.

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