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A man is suing his employer for $12 million because he says he was refused insurance coverage for his live-in female lover.

Paul Foray, 52, a cable splicer, says Nynex -- which merged with Bell Atlantic earlier this year -- is discriminating against him on the basis of his sexual orientation and marital status.

Foray has lived with Jeanine Muntzner, 43, for four years, said his lawyer Linda Cronin. Ms. Muntzner, a medical secretary, did not have health coverage when Foray asked Nynex to let her share his.

He said the company told him that employee and partner have to be the same sex to share insurance benefits if they are not married.

Steve Marcus, a spokesman for Bell Atlantic, said, "We believe that our policy complies fully with all applicable laws and regulations. As a result, we believe this lawsuit has no merit."

Foray's lawsuit, filed Thursday in State Supreme Court, included a letter from Nynex that said he did not meet "eligibility criteria" for domestic partner insurance.

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