Diaz v. Brewer (formerly Collins v. Brewer)

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09/20/2014 - 09:00
Texas
09/20/2014 - 14:00
California
09/20/2014 - 18:00
California

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Summary

In the summer of 2009, while our nation was in the grips of an intense debate about improving health care access, the state of Arizona enacted a mean-spirited law to strip lesbian and gay state employees of domestic partner benefits. Lambda Legal sued to block enforcement of this law, and to restore fair treatment for the state’s valuable lesbian and gay workers. Lambda Legal represents 10 government employees who have, among other things, protected the public as law enforcement officers and educated our best and brightest in Arizona’s universities. Their families’ circumstances represent some of the terrible harms that lesbian and gay state employees will face without equal health benefits for their families. Our suit claims that if state officials strip domestic partner health benefits from lesbian and gay government workers, they violate the federal constitution’s promises that 1) the government will treat similarly situated people equally, and 2) it will not punish people for exercising their fundamental right to a private, intimate relationship with a same-sex partner, which Lambda Legal established nationally in Lawrence v. Texas.

Meet the couples in the case.

History

  • November 2009 Lambda Legal files complaint in the U.S. District Court of Arizona.
  • January 2010 Defendants file a motion asking the court to dismiss Lambda Legal's case.
  • February 2010 Lambda Legal files brief opposing Defendants' motion to dismiss.
  • April 2010 Lambda Legal files request for preliminary injunction, seeking to keep partner benefits in place for lesbian and gay state employees during the case.
  • June 2010 U.S. District Court Judge Sedwick holds hearing about Defendants' request to dismiss Lambda Legal's case, and Lambda Legal's preliminary injunction request to maintain health benefits during the case.
  • July 2010 Victory! Judge Sedwick issues a preliminary injunction to maintain family benefits for all state lesbian and gay employees during the case, and allows Lambda Legal's equality claim to go forward.
  • August 2010 Defendants file appeal in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals seeking to overturn the preliminary injunction.
  • October 2010 After Lambda Legal files its principal brief in the Ninth Circuit, Arizona LGBT community centers One Voice and Wingspan file a supporting amicus curiae brief.
  • February 2011 Lambda Legal presents oral argument before the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.
  • September 2011 Victory! The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals upholds the preliminary injunction, preserving family coverage for all lesbian and gay state workers during the case.
  • September 27, 2011 Defendants file a petition for rehearing en banc, asking for a larger panel of Ninth Circuit judges to re-hear their appeal.
  • October 21, 2011 Plaintiffs file an opposition to defendants' request for a re-hearing of their appeal.
  • April 3, 2012 The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals denies the request of Arizona State officials for an en banc rehearing of the earlier ruling, which maintains family health coverage for lesbian and gay state employees until a court issues a final decision in the case. 
  • July 2, 2012 Defendants ask the U.S. Supreme Court to consider the case.
  • August 20, 2012 Plaintiffs file brief opposing defendants' request for Supreme Court review of the case.
  • June 27, 2013 The U.S. Supreme Court denies a request by Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer to review the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruling.
  • December 24, 2013 The U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona certifies Lambda Legal’s lawsuit as a class action.
     
 

Case Information

Status: Open

Plaintiffs

Keith B. Humphrey; Joseph R. Diaz; Beverly Seckinger; Stephen Russell; Deanna Pfleger; Corey Seemiller; Carrie Sperling; and Leslie Kemp.

Attorneys

Lambda Legal
Tara L. Borelli

Perkins Coie
Daniel C. Barr, Rhonda L. Barnes, Kirstin T. Eidenbach