Friday, March 7, 2008

Another New York court says out-of-state marriages are legal

This week another state court ruled that New York must respect out-of-state marriages of same-sex couples. While the Martinez decision out of Rochester, its appeal and the protest rallies that resulted from the appeal made news around the country, this past Wednesday’s lower court decision on Lewis v. Department of Civil Service went largely unnoticed.

Martinez and Lewis aren’t the only cases addressing out-of-state marriages. There are actually five marriage recognition cases moving through New York’s court system right now. The appellate level 5-0 Martinez ruling is the binding decision at the moment as it is the only one that has moved through both a lower level and a mid-level court.

Lambda Legal recently put out an excellent overview of all five cases, which was up-to-date until this Wednesday’s lower level court decision on Lewis. Go here to read this summary.

While we never try to predict what a court will say before it actually says it, there have been a string of good decisions in recent months on almost all of these cases and the Governor, the Attorney General, the Comptroller and many others have stated their agreement with these decisions. So things are looking good on the question of how New York will treat legal marriages of same-sex couples performed in places like Canada and Massachusetts.

However, the endgame on all of this is being able to get married right here in New York State and this means getting the State Senate to do what the Assembly has done -- pass marriage equality legislation.

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