Main | Wednesday, September 07, 2011

Federal Appeals Court: Arizona Can't Revoke Gay Domestic Partner Benefits

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled that Arizona may not revoke domestic partner insurance benefits for gay employees of the state. For now, Gov. Jan Brewer can suck it.
In a unanimous opinion, the three-judge panel agreed the state is not obligated to provide health insurance for its workers or their families. "But when a state chooses to provide such benefits, it may not do so in an arbitrary or discriminatory manner that adversely affects particular groups that may be unpopular," Judge Mary Schroeder wrote for the court. She noted there is no other way for gay workers to get those benefits in Arizona, with a state constitutional amendment barring same-sex nuptials. Tuesday's ruling does not end the efforts by lawmakers and Gov. Jan Brewer to curtail the benefits. Instead, it simply requires the state to continue providing coverage until there is a full trial on whether the law is unconstitutional. "It seems apparent that the court's real motivation here is for the legalization of gay marriage," said Brewer press aide Matthew Benson. "The governor stands with the majority of Arizona who overwhelmingly in 2008 defined marriage as between one man and one woman."
Arizona began offering domestic partners benefits in 2008 at the order of then-Gov. Janet Napolitano.

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