Big cheer for NY Mayor Michael Bloomberg!
Gay marriages of city employees will be recognized in the state. This is big — the tide continues to turn in the blue states.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced Wednesday that he will direct his appointees on the city’s pension fund boards to treat city employees in gay marriages the same way as those in traditional marriages.
Bloomberg’s decision, based on a legal opinion by the city Law Department, makes no immediate changes. It is unclear how many people would be affected.
If the idea is approved by the city’s five pension fund boards, same sex couples who are legally married or involved in a civil union with a city employee, would receive pension benefits _ including for instance, accidental death benefits.
The mayor does not have a majority of appointees on any of the boards, which cover pension plans for police, teachers and other city employees.
Those eligible would include people in gay marriages and civil unions that have been recently sanctioned in Massachusetts, Vermont and several Canadian provinces, among other places.
New York state however does not officially recognize gay marriage and state law prohibits pension benefits from being awarded to couples in city-sanctioned domestic partnerships.
State Attorney General Eliot Spitzer has ruled that though same-sex marriages could not be legally performed in New York, the state must recognize those performed legally elsewhere.
This of course, only applies to city employees now, but it does mean that gay couples have yet another place to settle and find a job where they can secure equal civil marriage rights.