NY Comptroller Wants Feds to Recognize Gay Unions

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New York's comptroller wants federal agencies and programs across the country to recognize gay marriages performed in the Empire State, and he's using the power of the state's $160 billion pension fund as leverage.

Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli is urging President Obama to create a "place of celebration" standard in the federal government in which gay unions are recognized even in states where same-sex marriage is not legal.

Under the plan, major companies that do business with the state pension fund would be required to adopt anti-discrimination measures when providing benefits for gay couples.

"I have become increasingly concerned that companies that refuse to protect their employees from discrimination based on their sexual orientation or gender identity, and those that exclude same-sex spouses from employee benefit plans that are available to opposite-sex spouses, are hurting their financial bottom line," DiNapoli wrote in the letter to Obama.

His reasoning: discrimination hurts a company's ability to recruit and retain top employees - something that could hurt the pension fund's investment in those companies.

Critics dismissed DiNapoli's request as being political.

"DiNapoli should be more focused on getting a better return on the pension fund and not focus on these social issues," Margaret O'Keefe, project manager for the fiscally conservative Manhattan Institute's Proxy Monitor database, said.

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