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Wednesday, May 09, 2007

N.Y. honors gay public employees' marriages

Planet Out

The state of New York is offering a special open enrollment period for state and local LGBT employees who were legally wed in Canada or anyplace else same-sex marriage is legal and want their partner to have benefits through the New York State Health Insurance Program.

The special enrollment period began May 1 and will conclude May 31, the Empire State Pride Agenda said in a written statement.

"This policy furthers Gov. Spitzer's recently announced intention to create civil marriage equality for all New Yorkers,"
said commissioner Nancy G. Groenwegen in a statement issued by the state Department of Civil Service.

"Health insurance benefits are an important part of the advantages and protections extended to married couples regardless of sex," Groenwegen said.

Based on an initiative that was announced alongside Gov. Eliot Spitzer's marriage bill, 800 local government entities across the state that participate in NYSHIP's Empire Plan are now required to offer spousal benefits to the partners of LGBT employees.

"We are glad New York is moving to provide state and local government employees who are married to same-sex spouses access to the same benefits all other married government workers receive," said Alan Van Capelle, executive director of the Empire State Pride Agenda.

"Having access to employer-based benefits for a spouse is fundamental to being able to take care of one's family. This decision by the makes families stronger in New York."(The Advocate)

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