Gay Marriage Sort Of Legal In NY

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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]