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New York's
pro-gay Mayor West to stand trial

New York's
pro-gay Mayor West to stand trial

The village mayor who challenged New York law by attempting to marry gay couples will face trial, the state's highest court ruled Friday. New Paltz Village mayor Jason West faces 24 misdemeanor counts of violating the state's domestic relations law by marrying couples without marriage licenses in 2004. West's defiance of a law that state officials say forbids gay marriage made the little Hudson Valley village a flashpoint in the national gay-marriage debate. The state court of appeals on Friday refused West's request to hear the case first, avoiding the usual process of hearing cases in town, county, and state appellate courts before they are considered by the state's highest court. West had sought a "leave application" because he argued the case was unique, novel and critical to the state. Assistant district attorney Joan Lamb said the court held a telephone conference on the issue Thursday. She said she argued that other cases brought by gay couples are wending through the court system now. She said the gay couples have better legal status to contest the law because it affects their rights, rather than West who allegedly defied the law as a public official. "The mayor will stand trial on the charges," she said. West, however, continues to have a motion pending to dismiss the charges "in the interest of justice." The town court judge could dismiss the case. West's attorney had no immediate comment. (AP)

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