LB - Yavapai Herbal Services

Home | Classifieds | Place Ad | Public Notices | Galleries | Kudos | Obits | Real Estate | Subscriber Services | Villager | Health Directory | Contact Us
The Verde Independent | Cottonwood, Arizona

home : latest news : state May 24, 2016

4/30/2013 4:02:00 PM
Horne won't challenge municipal laws on domestic partner benefits
Jennifer Pizer, an attorney with Lambda Legal, and Attorney General Tom Horne detail the agreement Monday they reached an agreement over what cities can -- and cannot -- approve in ordinances granting rights to domestic partners. (Capitol Media Services photo by Howard Fischer)
Jennifer Pizer, an attorney with Lambda Legal, and Attorney General Tom Horne detail the agreement Monday they reached an agreement over what cities can -- and cannot -- approve in ordinances granting rights to domestic partners. (Capitol Media Services photo by Howard Fischer)

Howard Fischer
Capitol Media Services

PHOENIX -- Attorney General Tom Horne said Monday he won't challenge city ordinances which detail the rights of those in civil unions.

Horne said there's nothing wrong with cities requiring hospitals to let partners visit or even those in registered unions getting family rates at the local swimming pool.

But he objected to a provision in a new Bisbee ordinance which mentioned seven specific rights, like community property and inheritance. Horne said that made it seem like those who register as partners get those rights despite specific state statutes reserving them to married couples.

Following a closed-door meeting Monday with attorneys representing Bisbee and other cities, Horne acknowledged domestic partners do, in fact, have those rights. In fact, so does every other couple in Arizona, whether registered in a civil union or not.

But the key is those rights are not automatic to domestic partners. Instead, they require some affirmative action, like taking title to a property as joint tenants or executing a will.

Horne said even if Bisbee's ordinance does not purport to grant new rights -- a contention disputed by city officials -- he feared those reading it or any other local law modeled after it would think they don't need such document if they are in a registered domestic partnership.

"If there were no civil union, they might realize they need to write a will,' he said. "And so we were fearful that people would be misled into not taking those precautions that they normally should take with wills or contracts or other relationships among people that are recognized under Arizona law.'

Jennifer Pizer, an attorney with Lambda Legal, agreed with Horne's legal analysis.

But Pizer, who agreed to represent Bisbee in any legal challenge, said Horne came after the city with the attitude that communities should not mention those other rights. That, she said, is not acceptable.

"I think it's very helpful as a practical matter when a city recites a range of things that couples can do and is specific about what the city is doing,' Pizer said. "This gives guidance to couples.'

Pizer said, though, the victory is bigger than just that Bisbee gets to have its ordinance, though it needs to be rewritten. She said just having cities list rights is a public relations victory -- and perhaps a step down the road toward eventual statewide recognition of couples.

"An important part of reducing discrimination against anyone, but specifically diverse families, is having government show a recognition of the commitment, the financial obligations couples take on, the fact that couples are having children,' she said.

"The range of things that are called out by this ordinance show that the city sees these families functioning as other families, despite the lack of recognition in state law,' Pizer continued. "As attitudes change, as respect is afforded, then we get closer to the time when we can actually change the law to reflect that respect and provide all the protections.'

The compromise that came out of the closed-door meeting is that Horne will not challenge local laws that mention things like property and inheritance.

"They can list what contracts people can enter into and what they can provide for in their wills, and other things that they're entitled to do under current law,' he said.

"And then they can say, if you enter into these contracts, which you have a right to do now, we will recognize that and we will make a record of it, we will formalize it, we will celebrate it, whatever they want to do,' Horne continued. In fact, he said cities are free to actually make copies of these various draft contracts and wills available to those who register -- as long as city officials do not start giving legal advice.

That stance appeared to satisfy Pizer

Taylor Waste

    Most Viewed     Recently Commented
•   Police soon will have one more reason to pull you over (4332 views)

•   'A Great Celebration' -- Mingus seniors prepare for graduation, commemorate scholarships and awards (3523 views)

•   Dowling steps down; Cottonwood election promises new interest (2911 views)

•   New trial sought for Jack Rider (2695 views)

•   What's hot in Verde Valley job market? (2684 views)

Article Comment Submission Form
Comments are not posted immediately. Submissions must adhere to our Use of Service Terms of Use agreement. Rambling or nonsensical comments may not be posted. Comments are limited to Facebook character limits. In order for us to reasonably manage this feature we may limit excessive comment entries.
Submit an Article Comment
First Name:
Last Name:
Anti-SPAM Passcode Click here to see a new mix of characters.
This is an anti-SPAM device. It is not case sensitive.

Advanced Search

HSE - We want to hear from you
HSE - Father Son Look a Like Contest
Find more about Weather in Cottonwood, AZ
Click for weather forecast

Submission Links
 •  Submit your feedback about our site

Find It Features Blogs Celebrate Submit Extras Other Publications Local Listings
Classifieds | Place Ad | Galleries | Kudos | Real Estate | Subscriber Services | e-News | RSS | Site Map | Find Verde Jobs | Contact Us
LB - Yavapai College 0523 Industrial Machine 728x90

© Copyright 2016 Western News&Info, Inc.® The Verde Independent is the information source for Cottonwood and Verde Valley area communities in Northern Arizona. Original content may not be reprinted or distributed without the written permission of Western News&Info, Inc.® Verde News Online is a service of WNI. By using the Site, ®, you agree to abide and be bound by the Site's terms of use and Privacy Policy, which prohibit commercial use of any information on the Site. Click here to submit your questions, comments or suggestions. Verde News Online is a proud publication of Western News&Info Inc.® All Rights Reserved.

Software © 1998-2016 1up! Software, All Rights Reserved