By Karina Ioffee Karina Ioffee
Thu Jun 3, 6:23 pm ET
NEW YORK (Reuters) - New York City officials began offering wedding-like ceremonies for same-sex couples on Thursday, drawing as much criticism as praise from gay rights advocates who want nothing short of full marriage rights.
The ceremonies provide no new rights or advantages to same-sex couples -- other than the opportunity to have a wedding in the city's renovated marriage bureau.
The city has allowed gay and lesbian couples to register as domestic partners since 1993 but the additional rights conferred upon them lack validity outside city limits. Domestic partnership bestows gay couples more rights, such as bereavement leave, health insurance benefits and hospital visits as family members.
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