New Paltz mayor postpones planned marriages

BY admin

March 06 2004 12:00 AM ET

New Paltz, N.Y., mayor Jason West postponed a second round of same-sex weddings planned for Saturday so he can consult with state attorney general Eliot Spitzer next week. West said Friday that he decided on the one-week postponement to help foster an atmosphere of trust between Spitzer and himself. Spitzer issued a legal opinion Wednesday that gay marriage is illegal in New York but could be open to a constitutional challenge. "Yes, I'm sure people will be disappointed, but I want to make sure we can find as many potential allies as possible," West said.

West performed his first spate of 25 same-sex marriages on February 27, drawing his town, located 75 miles north of New York City, into the fast-spreading national debate over gay marriage. Spitzer spokesman Darren Dopp confirmed Friday that West won't perform same-sex marriages this weekend. Dopp said West is involved in continuing discussions on the matter with Spitzer. Also, Spitzer consulted with Gov. George Pataki on the issue Thursday night and Friday, Dopp said.

The postponement came as opponents of gay marriage sought a court order that would enjoin West from performing the ceremonies. Dopp said West and the attorney general's office have jointly asked the court for a one-week adjournment of the injunction motion. State supreme court justice Vincent Bradley had not ruled on the injunction as of Friday. West said the postponement had nothing to do with the legal challenge. He said he intends to continue with the weddings next Saturday. West had planned to wed one to two dozen couples this Saturday, including Nancy and Robee VanNorman of nearby High Falls. Robee VanNorman took the postponement in stride. "I'm excited about the whole thing. If we have to wait a week, that's OK too," she said. "These are tumultuous times, and I guess we have to take baby steps here."

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