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Federal court certifies Ariz. same-sex partners benefits case as class action

Saturday, December 28, 2013

PHOENIX, Ariz. — The U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona has certified as a class action Lambda Legal’s lawsuit on behalf of lesbian and gay Arizona state employees fighting a move by the Arizona Legislature to eliminate health care coverage for their families.

ArizonaThe plaintiffs in the suit are challenging a move by the Arizona Legislature to eliminate an equal health coverage plan put in place in 2008 under former Governor Janet Napolitano.

Arizona lawmakers subsequently eliminated health coverage for domestic partners of state employees while retaining access to spousal benefits for heterosexual workers in a budget deal signed by Governor Jan Brewer in 2009.

Lambda Legal filed suit on behalf of the state employees and their families, claiming that because Arizona’s constitution prohibits same-sex marriage, same-sex couples have no way to obtain state benefits.

U.S. District Court Judge John W. Sedwick in July 2010 granted Lambda Legal’s request for a preliminary injunction to maintain domestic partner coverage for lesbian and gay Arizona State employees while the case proceeded in court.

The judge also denied a motion to dismiss the case by Arizona State officials, ordering that the case proceed on the merits of the plaintiffs’ equal protection claim. Arizona State officials then appealed the injunction to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, which maintained the injunction and denied a subsequent motion seeking an en banc rehearing.

The State then filed a petition for certiorari seeking Supreme Court review, which was denied in June 2013.

“We are pleased that the Court has certified this case as a class action, and appreciate that the State of Arizona supported this petition,” said Lambda Legal Staff Attorney Tara Borelli.

“With this certification, all lesbian and gay state employees who are currently or will become eligible for family health coverage for a committed same-sex partner or their partner’s dependents have become part of the fight against the State’s discriminatory effort to strip them of their vital family health insurance coverage,” said Borelli.

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16 more reader comments:

  1. Wait, is this good or bad?

    Posted on Saturday, December 28, 2013 at 10:03pm
  2. Okay, I didn't understand. Makes me want to come back to my home state. Of course I am pro, LOL. I'm gay and trans. xP.

    Replied on Saturday, December 28, 2013 at 10:09pm
  3. I removed my comment as I realized it seemed snooty, and that wasn't my aim. So I apologize for that. It's a good thing.

    Replied on Saturday, December 28, 2013 at 10:18pm
  4. No, you were fine, aha. No offence taken.

    Replied on Saturday, December 28, 2013 at 10:18pm
  5. Come on az!! We just need to legalize gay marriage and be done with it!! :)

    Posted on Saturday, December 28, 2013 at 10:20pm
  6. This country is changing right before our eyes #EqualRights #TimeIsNow #Acceptance

    Posted on Saturday, December 28, 2013 at 10:30pm
  7. Wow now lets get Texas into unity

    Posted on Saturday, December 28, 2013 at 11:01pm
  8. Come on virginia!!!!!

    Posted on Saturday, December 28, 2013 at 11:15pm
  9. this is how it starts..

    Posted on Saturday, December 28, 2013 at 11:15pm
  10. please legalize gay marriage so all of us fagots will stop talking about it.

    Posted on Sunday, December 29, 2013 at 2:28am
  11. Arizona is too far behind the times…and with politicians like John McCain and Jan Brewer, it pretty much sucks….

    Posted on Sunday, December 29, 2013 at 2:28am
  12. Separate and unequal is not equal civil rights. Lambda Legal should be suing for same-sex civil marriage equality.

    Posted on Sunday, December 29, 2013 at 3:37am
  13. Ha ha ha Jan Brewer. The Supreme Court turned down your motion. Kiss our collective gay ass! Shame on you for denying State employees’ partners and their children health benefits.

    Posted on Sunday, December 29, 2013 at 3:51am
  14. Az needs to legalize it so I can ask my ex to marry me it’s my only hope to get her back.

    Posted on Sunday, December 29, 2013 at 5:16am
  15. We need more red states to legalize GAY MARRIAGE…

    Posted on Sunday, December 29, 2013 at 7:43am
  16. Kicking Bigotry across the Southwestern USA!!
    Here comes Arizona into the foray of Marriage Equality
    kicking and screaming and John McCain pleading.

    Posted on Sunday, December 29, 2013 at 8:13am