Separate but Equal? NO
Equal and Equal? YES
The recent passage of the Marriage Equality Act in New York (Also referred to as Gay Marriage Bill or Same Sex Marriage)grants same-sex couples the freedom to marry and all the benefits, legal rights and legal obligations related to such a relationship.
This watershed moment in New York Law immediately brought to mind various legal ramifications:
right to marry
right to divorce
right to recover monies with a will (testate) without a will (intestate)
right to recover monies in a lawsuit as a spouse (loss of consortium)
and many others…including:
right to recover death benefits in a workers compensation claim
The right to recover death benefits in a workers compensation claim (and to recover benefits if an injured individual passess away and is still owed workers compensation benefits in certain circumstances) is a substantial benefit never before available to a same-sex couple since the surviving partner did not have recognition under the law!
New York Workers Compensation Death Benefits (for those legally inclined Article 2, Section 16 of the New York Workers Compensation Law) will pay a death benefit to the 'surviving legal spouse' which can be up to the weekly maximum (as of 2011 $772.96) for as long as that surviving spouse lives or remarries (and then the surviving spouse recevies a lump sum payment).
This is just one of the myriad of laws that will now equally benefit heterogeneous and homosexual couples in the State of New York.