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Ariz. partners benefits case goes to Supreme Court

After the hearing before the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco, Lambda Legal attorney Tara Borelli (right) speaks with Deanna Pfleger (center), an Arizona Game and Fish Department peace officer, and Pfleger’s partner, Mia LaBarbara. (Photo by Channing Turner/Cronkite News Service)

Arizona is asking the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn lower courts’ rulings that the state cannot take away state workers’ same-sex domestic partner benefits.

Lawyers for the state recently filed the appeal on behalf of Gov. Jan Brewer’s administration after a federal appeals court ruled against the state.

At issue is part of a state budget law. It revoked domestic partner benefits that were granted couples in 2008 during the administration of Brewer’s predecessor, Democrat Janet Napolitano.

A federal judge ruled the state could revoke the benefits to opposite-sex couples because they can legally marry in Arizona, but he overturned the revocation for same-sex couples. They cannot marry in Arizona.

Brewer says the case is a states’ rights issue. She says states should have the right to decide their funding priorities.

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