For almost a year, Republican legislators in Arizona have criticized the equal benefits plan approved by former Governor Janet Napolitano, now Department of Homeland Security Secretary. On Friday, the newish Republican Governor Jan Brewer signed a new budget that strips health insurance coverage for domestic partners as a "cost cutting measure," Lambda Legal reports.
"The elimination of vital benefits for a small, politically vulnerable group of public workers emerged from a protracted and bruising battle over the state budget. 'This is a cruel and cynical ploy by the far right to target and hurt the families of gay and lesbian state employees under the guise of cost-cutting,' said Tara Borelli, staff attorney for Lambda Legal. 'With families already facing pressure from job losses and a contracting economy, this couldn't happen at a worse time. The cutting of benefits pulls the rug out from underneath hardworking state employees and saves the state next to nothing.' "
The state Department of Administration says about 750 employees who signed up for the benefits would be affected. A spokesman says domestic partner coverage costs the state about $3 million a year in addition to the $625 million Arizona spends on health insurance for other employees.
Benefits were also revoked for unmarried heterosexual partners. Of course, they can always get married if they chose.