Phoenix Domestic Partnership: The Phoenix Family Law News Blog

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Domestic Partnership in Phoenix

As an alternative to marriage, several states and municipalities, such as Phoenix, recognize domestic partnerships and the rights attached to them. Because same-sex couples are not allowed to marry in a majority of the states, domestic partnerships are an available option that many couples choose. The domestic partnership typically provides some, but not all, of the legal benefits of marriage, such as health insurance coverage, family leave, and hospital and jail visiting rights. However, Arizona eliminated state domestic partner benefits a year after they were implemented, so your rights would depend on the city you lived in.

Given the controversial nature of domestic partnerships in Arizona, experienced Phoenix Family Law attorneys are equipped to help you understand your rights and privileges as domestic partners depending on the municipality you live in.


Recently in Domestic Partnership Category

Arizona's SB 1062 Vetoed, What Does it Mean For Phoenix Marriages?

Now that Governor Jan Brewer vetoed SB 1062, the marriage industry in Phoenix will have to serve same-sex couples that want to celebrate their domestic partnerships, even if it's against their religious beliefs.

SB 1062 sought to allow businesses to deny services to gay and lesbian couples based on their religious beliefs. Governor Brewer thought that bill was broadly worded and if passed, could have negative consequences for the state, according to CNN.

With the bill off the table, what are Phoenix's public accommodation laws and how will businesses be impacted?

Gay Marriage in Arizona: Lawsuit Challenges Ban

Four same-sex couples filed a lawsuit against Arizona's gay marriage ban in federal court this January.

The lawsuit argues that Arizona's gay marriage ban violates the couples' constitutional rights to equal protection and due process. The same-sex couples who initiated the lawsuit allege that Arizona wrongfully denied their spousal privileges, like pension benefits and survivorship rights, according to the Associated Press.

How does Arizona's gay marriage lawsuit compare to the ones in other states?

State to Appeal 9th Circuit Ruling on Domestic Partnership Benefits

The fight over health benefits for same-sex partners of state government workers is far from over. Arizona is again tenaciously appealing a state court’s ruling that its law banning same-sex partners’ benefits is unconstitutional, reports the East Valley Tribune.

Arguing that Arizona elected officials’ control over state finances is at stake, Governor Jan Brewer’s office said it will ask a full panel of justices from the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to review the law. The state law, which was signed by Governor Brewer in 2009, repealed Arizona state employees’ domestic partnership benefits for healthcare.

9th Circuit Upholds AZ State Workers' Domestic Partnership Benefits

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals announced on Tuesday that Arizona state employees’ domestic partnership benefits should contain the same health insurance benefits as opposite-sex couples, reports the Associated Press.

With its ruling, the Court of Appeals effectively blocked a state law signed by Governor Jan Brewer in 2009 which eliminated Arizona state employees’ domestic partnership benefits for healthcare that had been granted in 2008.

The Requirements For Domestic Partnership Registration in Phoenix

While the state of Arizona does not allow for same-sex marriages, the city of Phoenix grants some benefits to same-sex couples if they are registered as domestic partners. According to the City Clerk’s Department, domestic partners in Phoenix are given visitation rights in any health care facility located within the City of Phoenix. When two people register as domestic partners, it can also be seen as a symbol of commitment to one another — similar to that of a marriage.

So what exactly are the requirements for domestic partnership registration? to begin with, both partners must reside within the City of Phoenix and share a common residence. Neither individual in the partnership can be married to any third party or be part of an existing domestic partnership or civil union with any third party. Each individual in the partnership must also be 18 years of age or older and the two partners cannot be related to one another by blood closer than what would bar marriage in the state of Arizona.

Majority of Americans Now Favor Same-Sex Marriage

Could marriage laws across the country be changing even sooner than we all anticipated? According to The New York Times, a CNN poll this week found that 51 percent of people believe that marriages between gay and lesbian couples "should be recognized by the law as valid." Only 47 percent of people polled were opposed to the idea of same-sex marriages.

Other polls have also reflected a shift in general attitude that calls for the legalization of same-sex marriage. The first credible poll to show a majority of people in support of gay marriage was a Washington Post poll in April 2009. Since then, more sources have confirmed this trend.

Facebook Adds Domestic Partnership Option for the Relationship Status

What’s your relationship status? Now people have more options to choose from when defining their relationship on Facebook.

Phoenix is one of a handful of cities in Arizona that has a domestic partnership registry, where registered domestic partners in the city are granted some of the same benefits as married couples in the state. Yet some domestic partners in the city and around the state may have once been upset that they weren’t able to properly define their relationship on the world’s largest social networking website.

Arizona's Domestic Partnership Benefit Case Heard in 9th Circuit Court

The state of Arizona spends about $625 million a year on employee benefits for state workers, $5 million of which goes toward the benefits of domestic partners of the state employees. Yet some lawmakers are trying to cut off benefits to all domestic partners in order to save money in the midst of a budget crisis.

Is it lawful to deny domestic partners benefits when the state does not have an avenue to allow for same-sex couples to legally get married? The Arizona Republic reports that a lawsuit filed on behalf of 10 state employees argues that such a policy violates the U.S. Constitution's equal-protection clause by making it impossible for same sex couples to get health coverage for their partners.

Heterosexual Domestic Partners In Arizona To Lose Healthcare Benefits

On January 1, 2011, the Arizona Republic reports that the state will be cutting off healthcare benefits to 600 heterosexual domestic partners of state employees. The change in benefits is part of Governor Jan Brewer's budget cut plan.

The initial plan was supposed to cut off benefits for all domestic partners, including adult children and gay partners of state employees. Yet the new federal health-care law and court ruling have forced the state of Arizona to cover adult children and same-sex partners. This means that heterosexual domestic partners are currently the only people that are impacted by the budget cuts. Last week, however, the Arizona Republic reported that the state is appealing the court ruling and looking to deny benefits to about 408 same-sex domestic partners of state employees.

California Passes Law to Make Divorce Easier For Same Sex Couples

Same-sex couples living in Arizona that are married and part of a registered domestic partnership may feel a sense of relief knowing that California is about to have a law allowing same-sex couples to legally separate through a consolidated process. According to the California Chronicle, the California Senate and Assembly have marked their approval of AB 2700, which amends the California family code to allow couples who registered as domestic partners and who are legally married thereafter to dissolve both contracts through a single, uniform procedure.