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ACLU * ACLU * ACLU * ACLU * ACLU * ACLU * ACLU * ACLU * ACLU NEWS RELEASE * NEWS RELEASE * NEWS RELEASE * NEWS RELEASE Gays and Lesbians Declared Family Under Rent Regulations; Court Upholds New York State Rules For IMMEDIATE RELEASE December 5, 1990 In a victory that continues the move toward increased recognition of lesbian and gay relationships, new state regulations that broaden the definition of family have been upheld by an appellate court in New York. The new regulations guarantee that surviving family members -- including surviving gay life partners -- cannot be evicted from New York's one million rent-stabilized apartments upon the death or departure of the tenant of record. "Lesbian and gay tenants, as well as other non-traditional family members, can now rest easier," said William B. Rubenstein, the Director of the ACLU's national Lesbian and Gay Rights Project. The ACLU and Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund represent Gay Men's Health Crisis and two gay tenants in the case. "We now have security against eviction when our partners depart," Rubenstein said. "Our relationships are finally being recognized and our apartments being seen as family homes." In July 1989, New York's highest court, the Court of Appeals, ruled in a case brought by the ACLU that two gay men who had lived together for 10 years could be considered a family and that surviving gay life partners could not be evicted from the state's 160,000 rent-controlled apartments. Following the decision, the New York State Division of Housing and Community Renewal issued regulations extending the Court's decision to the state's vast stock of rent-stabilized apartments. Several landlords challenged those regulations in court. The state's new regulations, the unanimous appellate court ruled, do not conflict with New York's real property laws nor with its constitution. "By responding to the continuing shortage of low- and middle- income housing units available," the court said, "the rise in instances of individuals 'doubling up' and tenants being forced into a homeless situation due to unaffordable rents, the regulations clearly comport with the broad mandate provided the Division of Housing and Community Renewal by the Legislature to 'protect tenants and the public interest.'" The ACLU's Rubenstein said the new regulations are the first in the country in which a statewide government has defined family in such a broad, meaningful and realistic manner.


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