Monday, June 2, 2008

Family Court access bill is back in the news

We’re glad to see the NYT editorialize today about the long overdue need to fix New York’s behind-the-times Family Court system. In its editorial, the paper said:
"The Legislature should also fix a serious gap in the law: the inability of people in serious relationships with no children in common to obtain orders of protection in Family Court. Most states allow such orders, which are critical for public safety.

But the Republican-controlled State Senate has blocked them for years largely out of reluctance to treat same-sex couples as 'family.'"
We talked to you about this issue in April and want to emphasize again for the record where New York stands in relationship to other states on how our Family Court system treats same-sex domestic partners.

We’re among the last three of four states in the country where same-sex domestic partners who don’t share children are given no standing in Family Court. And we should also say just about the same holds true here in New York for opposite-sex domestic partners who don’t share children. Yes that’s right – New York is that regressive when it comes to this.

There is simply no good reason why we should continue to lag behind states like Mississippi and Alabama when it comes to who is deemed to be “family” in Family Court.

This year, for a change, there is actually a Senate Republican sponsor of a bill aimed at putting an end to this. But will the State Senate do what the Assembly has already done and pass the bill?

We’ll find out in just a few weeks.

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