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Kansas City passes benefits law

Kansas City passes benefits law

Kansas City, Mo., will provide minimal domestic-partner benefits to unmarried city employees, but the city council held off on including health insurance. With almost no discussion, the council voted 11-1 Thursday to support a domestic-partner registry and to provide sick- and funeral-leave benefits to city employees who are in committed heterosexual or gay relationships. A plan announced in April would have included health insurance, but the council postponed action on that because costs are still unknown. Mayor Kay Barnes said the issue will be dealt with as part of the city's insurance negotiations next spring. "This was not about religion," Barnes said after the vote. "It was not about sexuality. It was about equity." Supporters of the measures cheered and clapped as the votes were read. "I'm thrilled. I think the council did the right thing," said Jim MacDonald, who has been part of a coalition working with Barnes and city officials on domestic-partner benefits. The registry will give thousands of couples the chance to have their relationships recognized for the first time, MacDonald said. The city clerk's office will maintain the registry, for which each partner must file a notarized affidavit.

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