BY Trudy Ring
November 18 2009 3:45 PM ET
State employees in Arizona are suing to keep domestic-partner benefits from becoming a casualty of budget cuts.
Ten state workers, represented by Lambda Legal, filed suit Tuesday in U.S. district court in Tucson, saying a plan to end the benefits discriminates against gay and lesbian employees.
Under a budget deal approved by the state legislature last summer and signed into law by Gov. Jan Brewer in September, Arizona would no longer offer benefits for domestic partners but would retain them for heterosexual spouses. Domestic-partner benefits are scheduled to end November 24, according to court documents.
“This is an issue of equal pay for equal work,” Lambda Legal staff attorney Tara Borelli said in a press release. “By stripping away these vital benefits from loyal state employees, the state isn't just paying them less for the same work than their heterosexual colleagues — it's pulling away a vital lifeline that all workers need. This is simply cruel and saves the state next to nothing.”
The release goes on to quote lead plaintiff Tracy Collins, an Arizona highway patrol officer, who relies on the coverage for her partner of 11 years, Diana Forrest, and their family. “I put my life on the line every day for the people of Arizona just by going to work,” Collins said. “Though the stress of working a dangerous job takes a toll on my family, I'm proud to be a public servant. But losing Diana’s health coverage will put us in a desperate situation.”
Other plaintiffs in the case, Collins v. Brewer, include employees of state universities and the Department of Game and Fish.
- Florida Teen Facing Sex Offender Charge For Consensual Same-Sex Relationship
- Op-ed: Adopting the T in LGBT
- Donald Rumsfeld Isn't Sure, But Marriage Equality Might Lead to Polygamy
- A Reason for Pride: Gay Parents Are Changing the World
- Multiple Attacks on Gay Men in NYC, Hours After Rally
- Schumer Admits Reason He Left Gays Out of Immigration 'Provides Little Comfort'
Sign Up For Email Updates
- Sports Water Polo Player Addresses WeHo City Council in Speedo 1 hour 31 sec ago
- Comics and Graphic Novels This Gay Superhero Comic Is So Super Duper 2 hours 31 sec ago
- The End of Bullying Could Video Games Be a Cure for Anti-LGBT Bullying? 2 hours 45 min ago
- Women Kaitlyn Hunt's Lawyer: Possible Plea Deal, But No Felony For Same-Sex High School Relationship 7:03 PM
- Military Donald Rumsfeld Isn't Sure, But Marriage Equality Might Lead to Polygamy 7:01 PM
- Internet WATCH: The First AIDS Generation in Giant Town Hall 6:16 PM
- Politics Joe Biden Praises Jewish Leaders for Marriage Equality 6:09 PM