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Equal benefits law struck down in New York

Equal benefits law struck down in New York

A New York state appeals court on Tuesday struck down a law barring the city of New York from doing business with companies that provide benefits for employees' spouses but not for their gay partners. The state supreme court's appellate division in a 5-0 ruling declared the equal benefits law illegal because it "expressly excludes a class of potential bidders for a reason unrelated to the quality or price of the goods or services they offer." The judges also said the law "intrudes" on a federal law providing for the administration of uniform national employee benefit plans. The city's equal benefits law required companies with city contracts worth $100,000 or more to provide health, family, and bereavement benefits to domestic partners, gay or straight. After the New York city council passed the legislation in May, Mayor Michael Bloomberg vetoed it. The city council overrode his veto, and the Bloomberg administration sued. State supreme court justice Faviola Soto sided with the city council in December; the mayor appealed, and the appellate division reversed her decision on Tuesday. The city council will appeal, Councilwoman Christine Quinn said, adding she was disappointed the mayor was continuing "this wrongheaded appeal." City law department attorney June Buch disagreed. "Ensuring equal benefits to all New Yorkers, regardless of sexual orientation, is the administration's deeply held belief," she said in a statement. "The city council passing invalid legislation isn't the way to achieve this goal." (AP)

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