Jan Brewer Continues Fight Against Same-Sex Benefits in Arizona
Arizona governor Jan Brewer has not finished fighting against same-sex partner benefits in the state of Arizona. On July 2, the Republican official filed a petition to the Supreme Court requesting that a September ruling which allowed same-sex partners of state employees to retain benefits be reversed.
That September ruling maintained that partner benefits for state employees could not be determined, or refused, based on sexual orientation. Brewer had previously reworked the state budget to exclude same-sex partners of state employees from retaining health benefits. A legal challenge came from a number of gay state employees who backlashed against the decision.
By fall 2011, the Ninth Circuit Court had ruled that both heterosexual and same-sex partners of Arizona state employees would receive the same benefits and coverage. The decision to bar the law from taking effect came after the plaintiffs demonstrated their partners would experience emotional and physical hardship if benefits were swept out from under them.
Brewer has anxiously been awaiting the last three months to challenge the injunction in the hope of reinstating the anti-gay law in Arizona once and for all. Supporters of the injunction have until August 6 to make their case to the Supreme Court, at which time the court will decide upon the suitability of the case, the Huffington Post reports.
Defendants feel confident that the court will continue to oppose the anti-gay law. The Washington Blade quotes Tara Borelli, an attorney with Lambda Legal:
We are confident that the lower courts’ decisions upholding domestic partner coverage for lesbian and gay employees will continue to carry the day… Arizona’s arguments have been turned down again and again by the federal courts, and we expect it will be no different here.
Brewer has been an opponent of gay rights throughout her time as governor in Arizona. Last spring, she signed a bill into law that gave preferential treatment to married couples who wanted to adopt, intrinsically suggesting gay couples were less suitable to raise children.
Anti-gay legislation has been cropping up across the country and in the Ninth Circuit over the last few years, including the Defense of Marriage Act. Proposition 8 from California will probably also be taken up in the Supreme Court this fall.
Photo Credit: Pete Souza