The Town of Ithaca, N.Y., has become the newest addition to the list of cities that began registering same-sex domestic partnerships.
Though the state of New York does not currently recognize same-sex marriage, the latest measure, approved last month, by the Town of Ithaca will grant gay couples many of the same rights as married couples for a fee less than an actual marriage license.
Now, for the price of only $20, gay couples in the Town of Ithaca will be eligible to receive health and dental benefits in the same manner as married couples.
The Town of Ithaca issued a statement this week concerning the new law in the Ithaca Journal.
It is the policy of the Town of Ithaca to support all caring, committed and responsible family forms for all persons who cannot or do not wish to marry. Effective immediately, the Town of Ithaca is offering a Domestic Partnership Registry Service for those couples who reside together in a caring, committed and responsible family form, the statement reads.
City Clerk Julie Conley Holocomb was frank about the intention of the new law.
It was done as a way to give recognition to couples that couldn't legally be married, she said, according to the Ithaca Journal.
We were somewhat limited in how we could provide that, she added.
Town Clerk Karen Billings also commented on the new law, arguing that it was necessary to give gay couples the same legal and financial protection as heterosexual ones, something that became evident after the 9/11 terrorist acts.
After 9/11, there were numerous situations in which one partner was injured or killed and the (other) partner has been denied the ability to collect insurance, reside in the partnership's residence, claim next of kin benefits, or even to visit their hospitalized partner, she explained to the Ithaca Journal.
The Town of Ithaca is the now second city in Tompkins County, N.Y., after the City of Ithaca passed its own law in 1990, to recognize domestic partnerships.
Currently, Massachusetts is the only state to recognize same-sex marriage.