State Capitol News
12:09 pm
Tue November 17, 2009

Workers sue to keep domestic partner benefits

Phoenix, AZ – Gay state and university workers filed suit today to overturn a
law which takes away their domestic partner benefits.

The benefits were instituted a year ago administratively by then
Gov. Janet Napolitano. But earlier this year the Legislature,
with the approval of current Gov. Jan Brewer, overturn that
regulation as part of a move to cut costs. Attorney Tara Borelli
with the Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund said that
amounts to illegal discrimination.

"These gay and lesbian state workers just want the same thing
that workers at the next desk, in the next patrol car, get. They
have the same need for them. They work hard. They pay their
taxes. They clock in at their jobs. They put in their hours. They
have the same responsibilities and the same worries about their
loved ones becoming sick or needing to be able to see a doctor if
they're ill."

That argument was echoed by Tracy Collins, a senior patrol
officer with the Department of Public Safety, who will lose the
benefits that now go to her partner and the children they share.

"It's something we deserve. I do the exact same job all of the
other officers do for the Arizona Department of Public Safety.
And I feel that our 10 years together, we've proven that we are
staying together. It's not a question. I do believe that we
deserve the same rights as every other officer does with a
family."

About 800 state and university workers who have unmarried
partners now getting benefits are affected.