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New York town scraps health benefits for gay couples

New York town scraps health benefits for gay couples

Four years after Eastchester, N.Y., became one of the first small towns to extend health benefits to city employees' same-sex partners, the rights were rescinded in a new labor contract. Only two employees had been receiving the benefits, and the Civil Service Employees Association and the police union agreed to drop the language conferring the benefits in contracts that were approved 3-2 Tuesday night by the town board. The two employees, whose names have not been made public, will continue to receive the benefits until age 65, and other employees have 60 days to sign up for them before the offer is revoked. In September 2000 the board, then led by Supervisor James Cavanaugh, unilaterally added the benefits for city employees' partners. Current town supervisor Anthony Colavita, then a board member, approved the measure, but he campaigned against it during his successful run against Cavanaugh in the 2003 Republican primary. He said Wednesday, however, that politics had nothing to do with the loss of the benefits in the new contracts. "They were on the table for bargaining like anything else," said Colavita. "I was not condemning or condoning it. It was a matter of practicality."

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