Lambda sues New York for same-sex marriage rights
.?,vult filed Friday in New York State supreme court is seeking the right for same-sex couples to become legally wed. "This is the whole enchilada," said Kevin Cathcart, executive director for Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund, which filed that suit on behalf on a gay couple who have been together for over five years. "We seek, and intend to win, full marriage for gay and lesbian couples across New York--nothing more and nothing less."
The case argues that denying marriage to same-sex couples violates the state constitution's guarantee of equality for all New Yorkers. The case is the first of its kind to be filed in New York since the Massachusetts high court ruled that same-sex couples are entitled to full marriage under that state's constitution. "The protections only marriage provides are uniquely important to gay New Yorkers; these couples have waited long enough. Today's lawsuit is the beginning of the end of marriage discrimination in New York."
The lawsuit, filed in New York supreme court in Manhattan, comes two days after the state attorney general said that state marriage laws' usage of the terms "husband" and "wife" should be enough of a reason for local officials to refrain from issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples--but he said that those laws raise serious constitutional questions because they exclude gay couples. "New York's courts have a track record of making sure lesbian and gay people are included in the state constitution's requirement that everyone be treated equally under the law," said Susan Sommer, supervising attorney at Lambda and lead attorney on the case. "This lawsuit is the next natural development in a line of cases that have upheld gay couples' fundamental right to be treated with respect by their government. When gay couples cannot marry, they are not treated equally, and we believe New York courts will see that."