FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
April 27, 2007
ELIOT SPITZER, GOVERNOR
PROPOSED LEGISLATION WOULD CREATE CIVIL MARRIAGE EQUALITY
Governor Eliot Spitzer and Lieutenant Governor David Paterson today submitted legislation to create civil marriage equality for all New Yorkers. This historic legislation would establish equal responsibilities, recognition, benefits and protections for all married couples. The bill would additionally stipulate that no clergy member or religious institution should be compelled to perform any same-sex marriage ceremony.
Under current law, partners unable to enter into a civil marriage -- and their children -- lack legal protections taken for granted by married couples. In such areas as property ownership, inheritance, health care, hospital visitation, taxation, insurance coverage, child custody and pension benefits, married couples receive important safeguards against the loss or injury of a spouse, and crucial insurance against legal intrusion into marital privacy.
“This legislation would create equal legal protection and responsibilities for all individuals who seek to marry or have their marriage protected in the State of New York,” said Governor Spitzer. “Strong, stable families are the cornerstones of our society. The responsibilities inherent in the institution of marriage benefit those individuals and society as a whole.”
“This bill guarantees that the inalienable right to the pursuit of happiness will be protected equally for all individuals in the State of New York,” said Lieutenant Governor David Paterson. “This is an important step in the fight for civil rights for all people.”
The legislation will include the following provisions:
A marriage that is otherwise valid under the law will be valid regardless of the sex of the individuals;
Government treatment, legal status, and all rights, benefits, privileges, protections or responsibilities relating to marriage will be equal for all individual parties who enter into marriage regardless of the sex of their partner;
No application for a marriage license will be denied on the ground that the parties are of the same, or a different, sex, and;
In consideration of private, ethical and religious beliefs, no clergy member or religious institution will be compelled to perform any marriage.