It’s a big day in Arizona! The Governor’s Regulatory Review Council approved a controversial measure extending health care benefits to current and retired gay state employees’ domestic partners. Equality Arizona’s Barb McCullough-Jones offered this celebratory exclamation:
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 & land, and protect Arizona’s families. Today’s vote sends a clear message that Arizona values all families regardless of sexual orientation.
As activists celebrated the social symbolism, some analysts put the measure in economic terms:
While the state would benefit from having fewer people going without health insurance coverage, a more direct result for the state government would be a reduction in the high turnover rate of 17.3 percent if the improved benefits package encourages more trained workers to stay on the job, commission economist Allen Malanowski wrote in his analysis.
“There are decreased costs to the state through increasing employee retention and satisfaction with benefits,” Malanowski wrote.
No matter which way you cut it, the move’s going to piss off social conservatives. And that’s the best news of all.