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ACLU asks N.Y.
court to strike same-sex marriage ban

ACLU asks N.Y.
court to strike same-sex marriage ban

A brief filed with the New York court of appeals on Friday claims the ban violates the state's constitution.

New York State's law barring gay couples from marriage violates the equal protection, due process, and free expression provisions of the New York constitution, the American Civil Liberties Union said in a brief filed with the state's highest court on Friday, asking it to strike the law down. The brief was filed in the New York court of appeals on behalf of same-sex couples throughout the state.

"My partner, Heather, was grilled by hospital staff over and over about who she was and why she was there when I was in the hospital for breast cancer surgery," said Carol Snyder, one of the plaintiffs in the lawsuit. "We never would have had to go through such an ordeal if we were only able to be married. We're grateful that our case has finally made its way to the court of appeals and hope the court will recognize how badly families like ours get hurt when we're denied the protections of marriage." Snyder and her partner, Heather McDonnell, live in White Plains and have been together for more than 15 years.

The ACLU's case, Samuels and Gallagher v. New York Department of Health, will likely be argued at the same time the court hears arguments in a case brought by Lambda Legal also seeking marriage rights for same-sex couples. The court has not set a date for the arguments. "New York has a long and rich history of recognizing the importance of treating all people fairly," said Roberta Kaplan of the law firm Paul Weiss Rifkind Wharton & Garrison LLP. "We are hopeful that the court of appeals will vindicate that legacy by making sure that lesbian and gay couples and their families in this state are no longer shut out of the protections of marriage." (

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