New York City Mayor Rudolph Guiliani has proposed new legislation that would extend all the city services, benefits, and responsibilities now granted to married residents to registered domestic partners. If passed, New York’s recognition of unmarried couples will be comparable with that of San Francisco and the state of Hawaii.
The legislation, sponsored by Democratic City Council Speaker Peter Vallone, is expected to pass easily in the coming months. “This is a valuable thing that the city initiated years ago and it moves closer to the ideal of human rights and treating everyone fairly,” said Mayor Guiliani.
Benefits for registered partners would include joint parking permits, joint appeals of city tax bills, hospital and jail visitation rights, the right to continue living in a rental unit following the death of the lease-holder, inheritance of some city-issued license, and joint burial in a city cemetery in Brooklyn. Benefits for city employees would include bereavement leave, death benefits for partners killed on the job, and equal spousal benefits in future collective bargaining agreements.
Since the domestic partner registry was created in 1992, 8,700 couples have registered, 55% of which are opposite sex and 45% of which are same-sex partners. The number of registered couples is expected to rise sharply if the new benefits are granted.
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