Today, gay-rights activists applaud a decision issued by the United States Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit prohibiting an Arizona law from taking effect that would have ended domestic partner benefits for state employees.
In September 2009, Governor Jan Brewer signed a budget provision passed by the Arizona legislature that eliminated state workers’ domestic partner benefits by defining dependent to include only spouses and dependent children. The law would have created a substantial hardship for the same-sex couples relying on the benefits and would have led to inadequate compensation for employees in same-sex households.
“Governor Brewer’s decision to take health care and insurance benefits away from state employees in same-sex relationships has been recognized for what it is: unconstitutional,” said HRC President Joe Solmonese. “During a time of economic difficulty for many Arizonans, it makes no sense for the state to make our families less secure and deny health care to our partners.”
For now, the injunction will preserve domestic partner benefits for the approximately 800 state and university employees who currently receive them. The case, brought by Lambda Legal on behalf of same-sex couples, will proceed to the trial court.