Two separate courts have ruled that Arizona cannot discriminate against gay and lesbian couples by taking away benefits from state employees in domestic partnerships, but don’t expect Republican lawmakers to abandon the effort. A spokesperson for Gov. Jan Brewer (R-AZ) has indicated that the state may appeal the latest rebuttal from the Ninth Circuit — which found that “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” — and is now going so far as to denigrate it.
The Arizona Republic’s E. J. Montini reports:
Brewer’s spokesman Matt Benson told a reporter, “It seems apparent that the court’s real motivation here is for the legalization of gay marriage. The governor stands with the majority of Arizonans who overwhelmingly in 2008 defined marriage as between one man and one woman.”
Actually, the courts seem to care less about gay marriage. A ruling by a three-judge panel of the 9th Circuit this week indicated that if Arizona wanted to deny benefits to all of its employees, the court would have no problem. The trouble arises when the state decides to pick and choose which employees get the benefits based on whose lifestyle it condones….Of course, that doesn’t mean Brewer will quit wasting taxpayer money by waging war on gay state employees.
“This ruling is pretty much standard fare for the 9th Circuit,” the governor’s spokesman Benson said. “The decision flies in the face of both logic and the law.”
Brewer argues that she canceled benefits for domestic partners in response to the state budget crisis, even though cutting off “benefits to same-sex partners would achieve only minimal savings — no more than $1.8 million a year for fewer than 300 partners in a state with a $7.8 billion budget.”