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Arizona extends domestic partner benefits to state employees
Arizona extends domestic partner benefits to state employees
Equality Arizona celebrated the April 5 decision of the Arizona Governor's Regulatory Review Council (GRRC) to approve a rule granting domestic partner benefits to state employees.

The proposal, which was introduced on November 15th, 2007 by the Arizona Department of Administration (ADOA), received widespread support from community members and several organizations. The GRRC approved the rule change by a 4-0 vote.

Equality Arizona has been working in coalition with lawmakers, business leaders and community members for decades to advocate for equal benefits.

From December 1 through December 30, 2007, the ADOA accepted public comment on the proposed rule change. Ninety-one percent of the nearly 1500 people who submitted comments to the ADOA were in favor of domestic partner benefits for state employees.

Earlier this month Senator Pamela Gorman (R-6) introduced SB 1499 which would have created a legal definition to exclude domestic partners and their children from the definition of "dependent" for the purposes of state employee and retirement benefits. SB 1499 failed by a vote of 16-14.

Equality Arizona Executive Director Barbara McCullough-Jones released the following statement:

"Today's ruling was a defining moment for Arizona. It is because of positive change in social norms, forward thinking lawmakers and progressive companies that we are celebrating a rule change that will have dramatic, positive impact on Arizona's families.

"Throughout Arizona, people work every day in state jobs that improve the lives of our residents, ensure public safety, protect the state's interests in water and land, and protect Arizona's families. Today's vote sends a clear message that Arizona values all families regardless of sexual orientation.

"The state of Arizona has gained significant tools to attract and retain the best and brightest employees. Arizona now joins the majority of Fortune 500 companies that offer domestic partner benefits; the more than 140 cities and counties nationwide; and more than 60 percent of the universities that comprise the top 125 institutions in the U.S. News and World Report rankings; 13 states plus the District of Columbia; all Ivy League schools; 10 out of the 11 schools that make up the Big Ten; and now ALL PAC Ten universities which we are proud to say now includes the University of Arizona and Arizona State University."

To find out more about the efforts of Equality Arizona to advocate for the rights of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender community and our allies, visit www.equalityarizona.org.

An Equality Arizona press release

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