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NYC May Extend Rights to Unmarried

May 12, 1998

NEW YORK (AP) _ Mayor Rudolph Giuliani has asked the city’s government to treat unmarried couples the same as those who are married, a proposal that would give New York one of the nation’s strongest policies on domestic partnerships.

The legislation, proposed Monday, would allow people to retain apartment leases when their partners die and be buried with them in city-owned cemeteries.

The mayor’s proposal, which fulfills a campaign promise made to gay-rights advocates last year, would also obligate the city to give registered domestic partners the same benefits as spouses under the city’s future collective bargaining agreements.

``To the best of our knowledge, this would be a benefits package that goes further than any other domestic-partnership program,″ said David M. Smith, the spokesman for the Human Rights Campaign in Washington.

City Council Speaker Peter Vallone will sponsor the legislation, virtually guaranteeing its passage, The New York Times reported today.

One gay-rights organization said that the law, which would apply to heterosexual as well as homosexual partnerships, would lend support to same-sex relationships.

``It would be a psychological and emotional affirmation of our relationships,″ said Matt Foreman, director of the Empire State Pride Agenda.

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