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Commissioners advance benefits proposal for gay married couples who work for Cook County

Tuesday, June 24, 2008
Chicago Tribune
by Hal Dardick

Same-sex couples who work for Cook County won't lose their benefits if they get married in other states under a proposal county commissioners advanced Tuesday.The amendment, offered in light of recent decisions legalizing gay marriage in California and Massachusetts, would change a 9-year-old ordinance that extended the county's medical and other benefits to same-sex couples who were living together. Under the ordinance, same-sex married couples are ineligible for the benefits."We weren't thinking about this possibility" of marriage in other states, said Commissioner Mike Quigley (D-Chicago)."It doesn't extend any benefits," Quigley said of the amendment. "It doesn't acknowledge gay marriage."The Human Relations Committee also approved a similar amendment to a 5-year-old ordinance that created a domestic partner registry.The registry acknowledges gay partnerships, which can be a help to same-sex couples seeking benefits from private employers. The committee-backed ordinance would allow same-sex couples who travel to other states to get married to continue to register with the county.


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