Mayor Issues Order to Register Gays, Lesbians as Couples

Article excerpt

Mayor Freeman Bosley Jr. on Saturday signed an executive order allowing gay and lesbian couples to register their relationships at City Hall. He also announced that construction of a new Schnucks supermarket will begin in north St. Louis by the end of March.

Bosley promised during a mayoral debate Feb. 23 to allow the registration of gay and lesbian couples. The Schnucks store comes after a two-year battle between Bosley and Alderman Sharon Tyus, D-20th Ward, over the site at the old General Motors plant, Union Boulevard and Natural Bridge Avenue.

Bosley signed the executive order at The Center, 2256 South Grand Boulevard, an advocacy agency for gays and lesbians. He said he was "sensitive to the issues that gays and lesbians face because in many ways, your struggle is identical to the challenges faced by African-Americans in the early days of the civil rights movement." If he is re-elected, Bosley said, "the next step is health-care benefits" for partners of homosexual city employees. At the next negotiation of the city health plan, Bosley said this "will be on the front burner." The executive order allows homosexuals to visit their partners in city health care facilities and penal institutions. …