A federal judge has blocked Arizona
from ending domestic partner benefits for gay and lesbian state
U.S. District Judge John Sedwick's
Friday injunction prevents the state from implementing a law that
would have cut benefits to the domestic partners of gay state
employees and the children of those partners.
The legislation approved by lawmakers
and signed by Republican Governor Jan Brewer last September
eliminated health benefits to the spouses of domestic partners –
gay or straight. The move adversely affected gay couples, who cannot
marry in the state.
Lawyers representing the state argued
that the measure was needed to cut a ballooning deficit.
But Sedwick chided lawmakers for
placing the budgetary burden on gay workers.
“Contrary to the state's suggestion,
it is not equitable to lay the burden of the state budgetary
shortfall on homosexual employees, any more than on any other
distinct class, such as employees with green eyes or red hair,”
Sedwick wrote in his 33-page ruling.
About 800 state employees are affected,
according to the state.
Officials have not announced whether
they will appeal the ruling.