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N.Y.'s Suffolk
County approves domestic-partner registry

N.Y.'s Suffolk
County approves domestic-partner registry

Gay legislator leads drive for expanding rights for gay and lesbian couples.

Long Island, N.Y.'s Suffolk County approved a domestic-partner registry on April 5, granting the area's gay and lesbian couples hospital visitation rights and control over bodily remains.

The drive for the registry was spearheaded by Long Island's only openly gay politician, Suffolk County majority leader Jon Cooper, a Democrat from Huntington. All 10 members of Cooper's Democratic majority caucus voted to approve the measure, as did three Republicans.

"Passage of legislator Cooper's domestic registry ensures that gay and lesbian families in Suffolk County will be able to access the myriad rights afforded them from both public and private institutions," said Tom Kirdahy, a member of the Suffolk County human rights commission. "No longer will couples have to fear not having access to their partners in hospitals or control over the remains in the event of the death of their loved ones. The legislature has taken a bold step in ensuring that all Suffolk residents are safer in their homes."

Since 2004, Suffolk County has offered county employees health benefits for their domestic partners and children. (The Advocate)

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