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NYC to recognize same-sex marriages performed elsewhere

NYC to recognize same-sex marriages performed elsewhere

New York City on Thursday became the latest locality in New York State to announce that it will fully respect the marriages and civil unions of same-sex couples performed in jurisdictions like Massachusetts, Vermont, Canada, and other countries, according to gay rights group Empire State Pride Agenda. The group was informed about the decision in a letter dated April 6 that it received from Anthony W. Crowell, special counsel to Mayor Michael Bloomberg. The letter was in response to earlier inquiries Pride Agenda made to the city about the matter. "We applaud Mayor Bloomberg for taking a step in the right direction and working to ensure that same-sex couples who live in New York City and have been married in Canada, Massachusetts, and other places are now as legally married as a couple who got a license at city hall," said Alan Van Capelle, Empire State Pride Agenda's executive director. New York City becomes the sixth locality in New York State to proactively affirm that it recognizes the marriages of same-sex couples, according them the same rights as all other marriages within their local jurisdictions. Other localities are Buffalo, Rochester, Brighton, Ithaca, and Nyack. These announcements follow attorney general Eliot Spitzer's opinion that marriages and civil unions of same-sex couples performed outside the state should be treated as valid marriages in New York State. Crowell said in the letter sent to the Pride Agenda, "On behalf of the mayor, I am pleased to confirm to you that it is the policy of the city of New York to recognize equally all marriages, whether between same- or opposite-sex couples, and civil unions lawfully entered into in jurisdictions other than New York State, for the purposes of extending and administering all rights and benefits belonging to the couples, to the maximum extent allowed by law." "The mayor's proactive announcement on same-sex marriage means that 8.6 million of New York State's 19 million people, or more than 45% of the state's population, live in jurisdictions where same-sex marriage is a legal fact," said Van Capelle. "Given that Massachusetts has a population of only 6.3 million people, there are now more New Yorkers living in jurisdictions where same-sex marriage has been declared legal than there are people in all of Massachusetts."

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