State Capitol News
9:04 am
Wed July 11, 2012

Brewer Appointee Resigns Over Gov's Stand on Domestic Partnership Benefits

A member of an advisory panel to Gov. Jan Brewer quit Tuesday over her stance on benefits for domestic partners of gay state and university workers.

In a letter to the governor, Edwin Leslie said he could no longer serve on her tourism advisory council. She signed a 2009 law which says health care and other benefits are limited to the spouses of married workers. That overturned a 2008 rule change pushed through by Janet Napolitano, Brewer's predecessor. So far, though, federal courts have ruled the law is discriminatory. What got Leslie's attention now is that Brewer directed the Attorney General's Office to seek Supreme Court review. Leslie said her actions ignore the revenues the state gets from members of the gay community who visit Arizona. And he chided Brewer for what he said is discrimination. Gubernatorial press aide Matthew Benson said Leslie is off base.

"This issue isn't about gay domestic partners," Benson said. "It's about the authority of Arizona's duly elected officials to make budget decisions for this state."

And Benson accused Leslie of politicizing the issue by making his resignation public. But Leslie, in his letter, said this is more than an academic issue for him. He said he is a member of the gay community which -- quote -- deserves all of the same rights, privileges and liberties as every American.