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Gay and Lesbian Pride and Politics

Domestic Partnership and Marriage

Lobby Day for Domestic Partnership Legislation flyer (2000)
In 2000, many Boston gay and lesbian activist groups, including the Gay and Lesbian Labor Activist Network, campaigned for domestic partnership legislation in Massachusetts. A bill was proposed to extend health benefits to partners of homosexual and unmarried heterosexual partners of state employees. Cities and towns would have the option to provide the same benefits without legislative approval. While the measure had the backing of the Senate, it failed the House. The debate on domestic partnerships in Massachusetts began in 1991, when Boston City Council member David Scondras introduced a proposal for a domestic partnership ordinance for municipal workers. The proposal was defeated, but several communities - including Cambridge, Brookline, Amherst, Northampton, and Boston - created their own benefits programs in later years. The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court dealt a blow to these efforts in 1999, when it ruled that municipalities could not extend domestic partner health benefits without a state law to support it. From the Gay and Lesbian Labor Activist Network records.

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