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Will Gay Couples be Stripped of Domestic Partnership Benefits?

Arizona Governor Jan Brewer agreed to eliminate state employees' domestic partnership benefits for healthcare earlier this year for budgetary reasons, which aggravated many Phoenix family lawyers and LGBT activists.

LezGetReal.com reported that this decision cost roughly 800 government workers in the state their health insurance coverage, but heterosexual workers were able to retain their same spousal health benefits. It reportedly costs the state of Arizona $3 million to cover the health benefits of domestic partners, but the state also pays $625 million for the health coverage of other state employees and their dependents. Jan Brewer apparently made her decision based on a budget deal, where she was allowed to raise taxes if she took away health care benefits from gay state employees.

Attorneys are now firing back against the state, challenging the decision to eliminate domestic partnership benefits for state employees. Last week, lawyers with Lambda Legal presented their oral arguments in U.S. District Court in Phoenix to block the law that would strip domestic partners from their health benefits.

Arizona Highway Patrol Officer Tracy Collins is the lead plaintiff in the case and claims that she relies on domestic partner benefits so that her partner of 11 years can have health coverage. She is one of 10 state employees being represented in the case.

"For me it's about equal pay for equal work," Tracy Collins said through LezGetReal.com. "I do a dangerous job, protecting the people of Arizona. I'm only asking for the same benefits my heterosexual colleagues receive."

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