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Gay Marriage Sort Of Legal In NY

gaymarriagesimps.jpg
The confusing case of gay marriage gets even more queer today. And, like so many marriage dramas, this story begins in Massachusetts.

As you know, Massachusetts passed gay marriages back in 2004. Not one for so-called sinners, then-Governor Mitt Romney reminded lawmakers of a 1913 law which prohibited out-of-state visitors from marrying in Massachusetts. Unless, of course, their state would honor the marriage.

While some law-types fell into line, Judge Thomas E. Connolly ruled in favor of a contesting couple, saying that if a state doesn’t explicitly bar gay marriage, then a couple’s nuptials are legal.

One of the pair hails from New York, which is where things get really interesting…

In his ruling, Judge Connolly noted that in New York, where one of the plaintiff couples lived, the Court of Appeals, that state’s highest judicial body, had ruled that same-sex marriage was not allowed.

But lawyers for the plaintiffs saw an opening. The New York decision had been issued on July 6, 2006, more than two years after same-sex marriage became legal in Massachusetts. What about those New York couples who had married in Massachusetts before July 2006?

In an interview Tuesday, Attorney General Martha Coakley said, “We agreed that for the period between May 17, 2004, when same-sex marriage was legalized, to July 6, 2006, marriages of couples from New York are fully valid and did not and do not violate our general laws.”

This case highlights the complex and convoluted nature of the gay marriage debate. Now we have one group of gays who are technically married, but the rest of ‘em can’t get hitched? That makes no sense! But, of course, neither does the fact that we can’t get married, so we suppose it makes perfect sense…

(Further, by having two sets of legal standards, isn’t New York just undermining its own legislative authority?)

Some Gay New Yorkers Gain in Ruling on Marriages [NY Times]

By:           Andrew Belonksy
On:           May 16, 2007
Tagged: , , , ,

  • 8 Comments
    • akaison
      akaison

      You are highlighting the real problem with the leave it to the states argument. The reality is that marriage in the US has three components that I can think of off top my head- it’s about what happens in a state, what happens between states and federal rights. All three are what happened when say a Britney Spears got married in Las Vegas that time or any other run of the mill heteromarriage happens. They obtain rights not just in their state of which they were married but in every other state in the union. That’s why civil unions and domestic partnerships, and indeed, any marriage laws that are bound to one state are a problem- they won’t protect you say in a state that says as a matter of public policy you can’t get that inheritance that includes land in Georgia because Georgia doesn’t recognize your marriage from MA. It’s these kinds of issues which leave me pessimistic as to seeing full marriage for gays in our life times. Hell, these places are still fighting over issues you the confederate flag.

      May 16, 2007 at 10:47 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • akaison
      akaison

      You are highlighting the real problem with the leave it to the states argument. The reality is that marriage in the US has three components that I can think of off top my head- it’s about what happens in a state, what happens between states and federal rights. All three are what happened when say a Britney Spears got married in Las Vegas that time or any other run of the mill heteromarriage happens. They obtain rights not just in their state of which they were married but in every other state in the union. That’s why civil unions and domestic partnerships, and indeed, any marriage laws that are bound to one state are a problem- they won’t protect you say in a state that says as a matter of public policy you can’t get that inheritance that includes land in Georgia because Georgia doesn’t recognize your marriage from MA. It’s these kinds of issues which leave me pessimistic as to seeing full marriage for gays in our life times. Hell, these places are still fighting over issues like the confederate flag.

      May 16, 2007 at 10:47 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • katelyn
      katelyn

      this f***** sucks

      May 16, 2007 at 11:54 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • vernacular fairy
      vernacular fairy

      Leap hole?

      Loophole, darling, loophole. :)

      May 16, 2007 at 12:33 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • divajean
      divajean

      I get so freakin frustrated!

      So now- because my partner & I “knew” that having a ceremony in Massachusetts wouldn’t carry back to NY State and didn’t go have a ceremony 2 years ago- we’ll not be entitled to be considered married?!?

      And meanwhile NY State employees who are married anywhere its legal (even Massachusetts, Canada) will be considered married (if it happens by the end of the month )and entitled to state benefits for their partner, can joint file state taxes, etc.

      I am now officially a third class citizen of NY State. Thanks a lot Governor Spitzer.

      May 16, 2007 at 3:02 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • akaison
      akaison

      I even hate to ask- but under what reality is this Spitzer’s fault? He was AG- which means he enforces rather than make the law. Do you understand the difference?

      May 16, 2007 at 3:09 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Keith
      Keith

      “Further, by having two sets of legal standards, isn’t New York just undermining its own legislative authority?”

      Yes. Absolutely. 100%. IMHO, it opens up a perfect challenge point which will allow the judicial system to strike DOMA from the record.

      May 16, 2007 at 7:39 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • John
      John

      I’m guessing the conservative justices on the NYS Court of Appeals didn’t see this one coming. Who could’ve imagined that a ruling from a lowly family court judge in Massachusetts could undermine their carefully crafted scheme to deny gay couples any legal rights whatsoever.

      But, in all seriousness, these sort of conflicts will only intensify in the coming years.

      Already, we have that child custody case involing two states with vastly different laws. Remember that ex-lesbian who “kidnapped” her child and ran off to Virginia? She argues that her defiance of a Vermont court order to allow her former partner visitation is perfectly legal because Virginia bans all same-sex unions. Had the Virginia courts not backed down at the last minute, it would’ve created a major problem.

      Now, can you imagine the bitter legal battles that will inevitably ensue when a California judge orders a division of assets as part of a DP dissolution order…only to have them move all their assets to anti-gay Texas, and thus, out of reach of a California court?

      This is all just a powderkeg waiting to blow up in the U.S. Supreme Court’s face.

      May 17, 2007 at 2:28 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·

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