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Court upholds
partner benefits for gay New Orleans employees

Court upholds
partner benefits for gay New Orleans employees

The fourth U.S. circuit court of appeals on Monday rejected an attempt to kill domestic-partner benefits.

Beleaguered New Orleans gays and lesbians who rely on their partners' city employee health benefits were relieved Monday when a Louisiana appeals court threw out a second attempt to take those benefits away. The court of appeal for the fourth circuit of Louisiana upheld a 2004 lower court ruling that defended New Orleans's domestic-partnership registry and health insurance benefits for the partners of city employees.

The antigay Alliance Defense Fund led the drive to take away the benefits, which have been in effect since 1997. The domestic- partnership registry, which allows for gay couples to make a public commitment to each other, was established in 1999. The Alliance Defense Fund's effort to strip away benefits came as New Orleans recovers from the devastating physical and financial effects of August's Hurricane Katrina. "This ruling is not only good for our clients but good for the city of New Orleans, since it helps the city remain competitive in attracting and keeping gay and lesbian employees during these difficult times," said Brian Chase, lead attorney for Lambda Legal, the gay legal advocacy group that worked on the case. (Advocate.com)

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