GCU denies benefits to same-sex couples

Posted at 10:05 PM, Sep 15, 2015
and last updated 2015-09-16 01:05:55-04

A Valley couple is taking on Grand Canyon University over medical benefits. A university employee says their spouse is being denied benefits because they're a married gay couple. 

The employee asked not to be identified during an interview with ABC15. The employee says they found out their spouse wouldn't be eligible for benefits after being hired. 

"Second day of training," says the employee. "So right as soon as I started. They specifically said at this point in time, those who are married to the same sex, their spouses are not allowed to have benefits." 

The employee says they did extensive research on the university before moving to Arizona for the job. They were aware of its Christian stance, but signed a document stating the university doesn't discriminate. 

"After I read through all the documents, I was going to sign and it said specifically sexual orientation, marital status and sex," says the employee. "I thought, wow, I guess they don't discriminate. This is fantastic and of course in Arizona at the time I was considered legally married." 

The couple's attorney, Benjamin Taylor, says he hopes GCU will change its policy.  

"We're hoping that GCU does the right thing, that the president, the board, everybody sits down and looks-by not giving benefits, it's discrimination," says Taylor.  "It's wrong." 

Taylor gave the university until Tuesday to respond to their request for benefits. 

He says if the university doesn't respond, they will likely move forward with legal action.  

GCU said in a statement to ABC15 in part -- that the timing of this issue is appropriate as they review their HR policies like they do at this time every year. 

They want to be thoughtful and that changes to any benefits package is typically announced at the end of November during open enrollment.