News (USA)

Arizona governor takes away state domestic partner benefits

Arizona governor takes away state domestic partner benefits

PHOENIX — Domestic partners are being eliminated from Arizona state employee benefits just a year after they were added to the benefits plan, reports the Arizona Daily Star.

A bill signed by Gov. Jan Brewer (pictured) redefined a “dependent,” canceling the rule change made by Gov. Janet Napolitano that allowed domestic partners to receive benefits.

Jan Brewer

Also eliminated are children of domestic partners, full-time students ages 23-24 and disabled adult dependents. The legislation is in legal review. About 800 state employees are affected, according to the state’s administration department.

Liz Sawyer, a University of Arizona staff member, said the exclusion is ‘deplorable and it’s tragic.’

Sawyer is a spokeswoman for OUTReach, a staff group that lobbies for domestic-partner benefits at UA. Last year 170 UA employees signed up for domestic-partner benefits, she said.

Forty were same-sex couples and the remainder were unmarried, opposite-sex couples, Sawyer added.

Brewer said Wednesday that she believes “God has placed me in this powerful position as Arizona’s governor’ to help the state weather its troubles.”

Brewer, a Republican and former Secretary of State, became Governor upon the resignation of Napolitano, a Democrat, who was appointed by President Obama as the U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security.

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