Arizona headlines: State must proivde benefits to same-sex couples; Bundgaard may face ethics committee

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PHOENIX, Ariz. -- A big victory Tuesday for same sex couples in Arizona.

An appeals court ruled the state must provide health benefits to same sex partners of government workers.

Two years ago, Governor Jan Brewer signed a law that eliminated health-insurance eligibility for the same sex-partners of state workers.

Brewer's office insists a tight state budget prompted the decision to eliminate benefits for all domestic partners of government workers, gay and straight.

A group filed a lawsuit to block the law and Tuesday the court upheld the lawsuit.

"They basically said you can't treat one class of your employees differently from another class and deny benefits to one group simply because of who they are," said Dan Mallar from the Human Rights Campaign.

"What the federal court has done is created inequality they've said domestic benefits for gay couples have to continue but for straight couples those benefits have been eliminated," said Governor's spokesman Matthew Benson.

No word whether the state will appeal the decision.


PHOENIX, Ariz. -- The Arizona Senate Ethics Committee could meet next week to decide whether to investigate Senator Scott Bundgaard's domestic violence case.

Bundgaard missed a deadline Friday to file a response to the complaint filed by Phoenix Democrat Steve Gallardo.

Bundgaard's lawyer says the Peoria Republican welcomes a possible Senate ethics committee hearing.

Bundgaard pleaded "no contest" in August to a misdemeanor stemming from a February fight with his former girlfriend along a Phoenix freeway.