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Ariz. Defends Gay Partner Benefit Cuts

Ariz. Defends Gay Partner Benefit Cuts

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The state of Arizona returns to court Monday to defend its move to cut health benefits for the same-sex partners of state employees.

The Arizona Republic
reports that Gov. Jan Brewer cut benefits for all domestic partners, which former Gov. Janet Napolitano had extended, as part of a budget-balancing bill. However, because same-sex partners have no right to marry in the state, the move unfairly targeted them.

"But a lawsuit filed on behalf of 10 state employees in November 2009 argued that the law discriminates against gay and lesbians," reports the Arizona Republic. "In July, U.S. District Judge John Sedwick agreed and temporarily prevented the benefit cut for same-sex couples, saying the law violated the U.S. Constitution's equal-protection clause by making it impossible for homosexuals to get health coverage for their partners."

Lawyers for Arizona argue that there is no requirement to offer benefits for domestic partners, and that Judge Sedwick erred in granting the stay.

Benefits to 480 same-sex partners and about 60 children are at risk, TheArizona Republic reports. A three-judge panel in San Francisco will hear oral arguments Monday.

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