Dallas Voice (Dallas, Tex.), Vol. 22, No. 35, Ed. 1 Friday, January 13, 2006 Page: 17 of 60
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ments on Feb. 15, Buckel said.
One of the common complaints about New
Jersey's domestic partnership law is that it does
not force many employers to give gay and lesbian
partners the same benefits as married couples,
including access to health care or retirement ben-
But two bills passed Monday brought domes-
tic partnerships a little closer to marriage.
One bill amends the state's law so a domestic
partner has the same funeral rights as a spouse in
case their partner dies without leaving a will. It
passed the state Senate 39-0 last week and was
called a "major milestone" by Steven Goldstein,
chairman of Garden State Equality.
The other bill would allow municipalities and
other public entitites at the local level to extend
health benefits to domestic partners.
The measure seeks to close a loophole in the
domestic partner law enacted in 2004. The law
was limited to extending health benefits to
domestic partners who worked for public agen-
cies covered by the state's health plan. The bill
broadens the law so the benefits may be offered
by all county and municipal governments, school
boards and county colleges.
The two bills were sent to Governor Richard J.
Codey, whose signature is expected on both.
Gay marriage opponents offer
limited rights to gay couples
Bay State legislation announced Wednesday provides hospital visitation,
transfer-of-property rights, some other 'reciprocal benefits'
By Brooks Donald Associated Press
BOSTON — Opponents of same-sex mar-
riage announced legislation Wednesday to
provide hospital visitation and other rights to
gay couples, intending to counter claims that
banning same-sex marriage in Massachusetts
would deny certain benefits to gays and les-
The Benefits Fairness Act would grant
"reciprocal benefits" to gay couples should
the state enact a proposed ban on gay mar-
riage. The bill also aims to grant people in
other family relationships, such as siblings or
cousins living together, the rights they would
have under marriage, such as burial rights and
Hawaii enacted similar legislation in 1997,
and Oregon is currently reviewing a reciprocal
benefits bill, said Kris Mineau, president of
the Massachusetts Family Institute, which
opposes gay marriage.
Same-sex marriage has been legal in
Massachusetts since a landmark 2003 ruling
by the Supreme Judicial Court. Opponents are
pushing for a constitutional amendment to ban
it, and have gathered enough signatures to get
a proposal on the 2008 ballot, though there are
still some legislative hurdles before it can go
Rep. Philip Travis, a sponsor of the bill, said
at a Statehouse news conference that the legis-
lation "fills in the gap" between benefits
afforded legally wed couples and others who
"This is not against the gay community," he
Marc Solomon, campaign director for
MassEquality, which supports same-sex mar-
riage, characterized the bill as a "hoax."
"There are well over 1,500 benefits, protec-
tions and responsibilities that come with mar-
riage. This is throwing in a few," he said.
Travis said the legislation attempts to cover
as many benefits as possible. He said he
planned to file it within the next few weeks.
Salt Lake City council counters
mayor s domestic partner plan
SALT LAKE CITY — City Council members
displeased with Mayor Rocky Anderson's
domestic partner plan have enlarged it to include
other adults living with city employees.
A majority of council members objected stren-
uously when Anderson issued an executive order
last summer, bypassing the council and establish-
ing the domestic partner benefits.
In a straw poll Tuesday night, all seven coun-
cil members said they would support the council-
created plan to provide health-insurance benefits
for city employees' "adult designees." That
includes gay and heterosexual domestic partners,
relatives and roommates.
To qualify, the designee would have to have
lived with the employee for at least a year, and
the two would have to be financially connected.
The plan is expected
to cost the city an addi-
tional 1140,000 to
on how many employ-
ees sign up.
A formal vote is
expected Feb. 7.
Anderson signed an
executive order in
fits to employees' gay and unmarried heterosex-
ual partners. That order has been challenged in
court and has not gone into effect.
Once approved, the council plan would super-
sede the mayor's, though it may not resolve legal
Continued on Next Page
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Vercher, Dennis. Dallas Voice (Dallas, Tex.), Vol. 22, No. 35, Ed. 1 Friday, January 13, 2006, newspaper, January 13, 2006; Dallas, Texas. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth238891/m1/17/: accessed March 26, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Special Collections.