Appeals Court: NY Must Recognize Out Of State Gay Marriages
Yesterday the New York Court of Appeals refused to hear a case that challenged a lower court's decision that the state must recognize same-sex marriages performed in other jurisdictions. The court's refusal means that the earlier ruling stands and New York must recognize same-sex marriages performed in jurisdictions where they are legal.
The original case stemmed from a complaint from two women married in Canada in 2004. The women sued Monroe County Community College, where one of them is employed, when the school refused to add the other partner to a health plan. The school later expanded its health plan to include domestic partners.
The Empire State Pride Agenda welcomed the decision, but with a caveat.
"Despite today's good news, the state of marriage for same-sex couples in New York is still unsettled," said Empire State Pride Agenda Executive Director Alan Van Capelle.The GOP holds their state Senate majority by a very slim margin, although there are Democrats there who do not support marriage equality.
"Until a law is passed by the New York State Legislature, there will always be the possibility that another court decision could undo Martinez v. County of Monroe and strip away from otherwise legally married same-sex couples all of the 1324 state-based rights and responsibilities that come with a marriage license in New York."
In 2006 the New York Court of Appeals, the state's highest court, ruled that same-sex couples do not have an automatic constitutional right to marry in the state. It said that the issue, however, could be taken up by the Legislature. Last June the Democratically-controlled New York State Assembly passed same-sex marriage legislation (story) but the GOP-controlled Senate has refused to take up the bill.