Arizona Governor Jan Brewer is asking the Supreme Court to overturn same-sex partner benefits for Arizona state employees. The Arizona Daily Sun reports:
Legal papers filed by Attorney General Tom Horne contend that a three-judge panel of the appellate court got it wrong when it concluded earlier this month that it is illegal for the state to provide health care and other benefits to the partners of married workers while refusing to do the same for same-sex couples.
He said the state is allowed to make such distinctions.
In the opinion of several lawmakers in Arizona (who disagree with the move), this appeal is purely “to make a point” against immorality- oh, and to save the state some money. The Daily Sun again:
Hanging in the balance is whether gay workers will lose benefits they have had since 2008. That is when then-Gov. Janet Napolitano got her Department of Administration to rewrite the state’s personnel rules to expand the definition of who is a “dependent” for purposes of state employment.
Under those rules, that included someone living with the employee for at least a year and expected to continue living with that person. The rules, which did not specify the gender of the partner, also required a showing of financial interdependence and an affidavit by the worker affirming there is a domestic partnership.
But in 2009, after Napolitano resigned to take a post in the Obama administration, the Republican-controlled Legislature approved — and Brewer signed — a state law narrowing the definition and specifically excluding unmarried couples.
… According to the Department of Administration, there are 226 employees of the state, the University of Arizona and Arizona State University who are receiving same-sex domestic partner benefits. He said the annual cost is slightly more than $5 million a year.
Does this sound familiar? Prop 8, anyone? The question is whether the balance of social opinion and acceptance will have an affect on this decision. Fascinating also that this request comes just as the general elections ramping up…
Full story here