GAY TEACHERS GROUP SUES NY SCHOOL BOARD

GAY TEACHERS GROUP SUES NY SCHOOL BOARD

A $1 million lawsuit has been filed against the New York Board of Education by a group of homosexual teachers who want their live-in partners to receive the same medical insurance benefits extended to spouses of heterosexual employees.

The suit filed by the Gay Teachers Association charges the board with discriminating against them because of their marital status and sexual preference.If we were legally married, we'd have all those benefits, and I'm being prevented from being married, said Ronald Madson, who has taught art at P.S. 20 in Brooklyn for 22 years.

He said he was denied benefits in March for his partner of 17 years, Richard Dietz.

A Sheepshead Bay High School guidance counselor for 23 years, Ruth Berman, also was denied health benefits in March for her 13-year companion, Constance Kurtz.

Both were told by the board's Health and Welfare Services Unit that only legally married spouses are eligible. Same-sex couples are not allowed to marry under New York state law.