AUGUSTA – The House on Thursday approved a bill that would extend provisions of the state’s Family Medical Leave Act to domestic partners.

The bill, sponsored by Sen. Dennis Damon, D-Trenton, passed 95-41. It goes to the Senate for a vote next.

Under the Maine Family Medical Leave Act, employees can request leave from work to care for a sick family member. Damon’s bill places domestic partners in the same category.

The bill received strong support from the gay and lesbian lobbying group but, as Rep. Troy Jackson, D-Allagash, pointed out, applies to any registered domestic partnership.

“I’ve been dating the same woman since the sixth grade – more than 20 years,” Jackson said, as quoted in a news release. “We’ve never been married – but we have two children, they’re all my family, and we’re as committed as any married couple.”

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