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SCOTUS Hands Down Two More Victories For Same-Sex Couples

gavelSpeaking of celebrations and celebrating. Today, the US Supreme Court handed down a rejection of two appeals out of Arizona and Nevada involving same-sex couples.

The justices let stand the appeals court ruling striking down Governor Jan Brewer’s attempt to not have benefits for same-sex couples. Brewer claimed that the domestic partnership benefits would be too expensive and tried to have them shut down. The appeals court struck down the law making employees in same-sex relationships ineligible for domestic partner benefits.

Brewer claimed that “This case has never been about domestic partners, same-sex or otherwise. It is always been about the authority of elected state officials to make decisions with which we have been entrusted by the voters.”

She claimed that such a decision limited the ability of the state to balance it’s budget. Brewer pushed to ban all domestic partnership benefits, but ran afoul of the issue when pro-LGBT campaigners sued over the fact that the bill was aimed at same-sex couples who cannot marry in Arizona and thus, cannot get the benefits. Arizona’s constitution bans same-sex marriage, but an initiative is being put together to reverse that amendment.

Tara Borelli,
a lawyer fro Lambda Legal stated “The state is excluding only one gorup of employees from family coverage and that is lesbian and gay employees.”

The Nevada decision involved a challenge to the state’s ban on same-sex marriage. That case will now be decided by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco. The case was filed on behalf of eight same-sex couples who claim that the 2002 State Constitutional Amendment prohibiting same-sex marriage violates the Constitution because it denies same-sex couples the same rights as straight married couples.

A federal judge ruled last year that the ban was not a violation of the Constitution, and the plaintiffs appealed to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. The supporters of the ban appealed to the Supreme Court instead.

The Nevada Assembly has already begun the process of repealing the ban on same-sex marriage.

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