NY Lawmakers Back Bereavement Leave for Gays

Posted by Michael Virtanen of The Associated Press on timesunion.com:

"New York businesses would have to extend funeral and bereavement leave to unmarried same-sex couples under a bill passed by the Legislature and awaiting Gov. David Paterson's signature.

"The bill, which passed the Assembly 107-26 this month and the Senate on Monday, prohibits discrimination by employers in the state who provide such leave to other workers and would take effect 60 days after signing.

"Paterson has been a strong advocate of gay rights, including the freedom to marry; he will review the bill when it reaches his desk, spokesman Morgan Hook said Tuesday.

"Same-sex couples who get legally married in Massachusetts, Canada and some other places are entitled to government benefits like married couples under New York law.

"But sponsors of the bill said bereavement leave also should be available to same-sex couples who haven't left the state to marry but are in 'a committed relationship,' defined as 'a long-term relationship characterized by emotional and financial commitment and interdependence.'

"'Enlightened companies with domestic partnership policies now allow this type of funeral or bereavement leave,' said a memo by the sponsors, including Assembly member Deborah Glick, a Manhattan Democrat.

"'This bill recognizes the fact that love, loyalty and dedication are the cornerstone of any committed relationship regardless of a person's sexual orientation,' said Sen. Velmanette Montgomery, a Brooklyn Democrat and sponsor. It passed the Senate 50-11, with all the no votes cast by Republicans, Democratic Conference spokesman Travis Proulx said."

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