Diaz v. Brewer

Summarized by:

  • Court: 9th Circuit Court of Appeals Archives
  • Area(s) of Law: Constitutional Law
  • Date Filed: 09-06-2011
  • Case #: 10-16797
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Circuit Judge Schroeder for the Court; Circuit Judge Thomas; District Judge for the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Iowa, Mark W. Bettnett, sitting by designation
  • Full Text Opinion

A statute limiting public employee benefits to spouses of heterosexual couples and eliminating coverage for domestic partners violates equal protection.

In 2008, Arizona Administrative Code was modified to include access to health care benefits of qualified same-sex and opposite-sex domestic partners of state employees. Arizona voters subsequently amended the Arizona constitution defining marriage as between one man and one woman. In 2009, the Arizona governor signed into law a bill that redefined “dependants” as “spouses” and eliminated coverage for domestic partners. The law was set to go into effect on January 1, 2011. A group of gay and lesbian state employees filed suit. The district court held that the law was invalid and granted injunctive relief. Arizona appealed. The Ninth Circuit found that the under the new law, couples who were opposite-sex could marry and therefore receive benefits; same-sex couples are not permitted to marry in Arizona and therefore could not marry and receive benefits. The Court held that distinguishing between homosexual and heterosexual employees, similarly situated, cannot survive rational basis review. The Court found that the law was not a cost saving tool and was in fact written in order to selectively litigate against homosexuals. The Court found that the law was not an incentive to marry as argued by Arizona. AFFIRMED

Advanced Search