Counter Lawsuit Filed in Benefits Dispute

Counter Lawsuit Filed in Benefits Dispute


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SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- Salt Lake City has filed a counter lawsuit in the dispute over whether the city can offer health insurance benefits to the same-sex partners of city employees.

Last month, Mayor Rocky Anderson signed an executive order granting the benefits.

The city's lawsuit, filed yesterday, claims such benefits are legal under state law.

Court documents say the executive order does not affect the public at large in any way.

A week ago, the Public Employees Health Program, which manages the city's health plans, filed a lawsuit asking a judge to decide the issue. City Attorney Ed Rutan says the city is blocked from offering any benefits until a judge rules. P-E-H-P asked for a decision by November first.

Utah law bans gay marriage and make the granting of any legal status to relationships other than a marriage between a man and a woman illegal.

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In a separate case, the Alliance Defense Fund, an Arizona-based conservative religious group, also filed a lawsuit claiming Anderson's order violates state law.

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Information from: The Salt Lake Tribune

(Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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