Wednesday, February 11, 2004


Domestic partners to qualify for unemployment benefits in New York

A story released today by the Associated Press reports that New York state is poised to grant unemployment benefits to people who quit their jobs to relocate to another city or state when their domestic partner is taking a new job in another location.

The ruling would apply to unmarried heterosexuals and homosexuals. The couples would have to prove a long-term relationship based on a "unique set of facts" required by the state, according to the decision. Married heterosexual couples already have the benefit.

The state Labor Department's top lawyer told the state Unemployment Insurance Appeals Board to reverse a ruling that banned unemployment benefits to same-sex couples in long-term relationships. The state has no estimate of the cost of expanding the benefit.

The state's reversal was prompted by a single case of a Rochester woman who moved with her partner to Virginia six years ago, but was unable to land a job. Governor Pataki intervened on the couple's behalf and asked the Department of Labor to issue guidelines which would grant the same benefits to domestic partners which are now available to spouses.


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