July 8, 2012 at 11:23 pm EDT | by Chris Johnson
Brewer asks Supreme Court to reverse Ariz. DP benefits

Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer (photo by Gage Skidmore via wikimedia)

The Supreme Court will have to decide when it returns from summer recess whether or not to consider a lawsuit challenging an Arizona law aimed at stripping state workers of domestic partner benefits.

Last week on July 2, Gov. Jan Brewer (R) appealed to the court an injunction from the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals preventing the enforcement of the anti-gay law, which was signed by Brewer in 2009.

The petition filed by Brewer — who’s known for championing her state’s controversial immigration law — appeals a Sept. 6 decision from the appeals court. Judges had affirmed a district court’s decision to place injunction against enforcing the anti-gay law, which would take away health benefits afforded to the domestic partners of state employees.

The lawsuit challenging the anti-gay law, which was signed by Brewer, was filed later in 2009 by Lambda Legal and the lawfirm Perkins Coie on behalf of 10 state employees. Plaintiffs argued that taking away domestic partner benefits from state employees violates the U.S. Constitution’s promises of equal protection.

Tara Borelli, senior staff attorney with Lambda Legal, expressed confidence that the injunction against the anti-gay law would remain standing.

“We are confident that the lower courts’ decisions upholding domestic partner coverage for lesbian and gay employees will continue to carry the day,” Borelli said. “Arizona’s arguments have been turned down again and again by the federal courts, and we expect it will be no different here.”

Supporters of the injunction must provide a response by Aug. 6. The court will decide whether or not to take the case when it returns from summer recess.

The case won’t be the only LGBT-related lawsuit that the court will have to decide whether or not to consider. Attorneys for U.S. House Speaker Boehner John Boehner appealed on behalf of the Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group litigation a court decision overturning the Defense of Marriage Act, and the Justice Department has also asked the high court to consider DOMA cases. Additionally, the Ninth Circuit decision overturning California’s Proposition 8 is expected to be appealed to the Supreme Court.

Chris Johnson is Chief Political & White House Reporter for the Washington Blade. Johnson attends the daily White House press briefings and is a member of the White House Correspondents' Association. Follow Chris

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