New York couple
Michael Adams and Fred Davie waited three years to find
out whether their marriage in Massachusetts was legal. On
Wednesday, they got an answer: Their wedding rings can
A judge ruled
that marriages of gay couples from New York who wed in
Massachusetts before last July are valid because New York
had not explicitly banned same-sex marriages until
''We've been in
limbo,'' Adams said. ''To learn that the marriage we
cherish so much is legal and recognized in Massachusetts and
New York--well, we can't wait to get together to
pop open a bottle of champagne.''
became the first state in the country to allow same-sex
marriage in May 2004, but out-of-state couples are barred
from marrying in the state if their marriages would be
prohibited in their home states.
Adams and Davie,
from New York City, wed in Lowell, Mass., in 2004. The
New York court of appeals ruled on July 6, 2006, that New
York law limits marriage to unions between a man and a
Gay and Lesbian Advocates and Defenders had asked for
clarification of the status of New York couples who married
in Massachusetts before that ruling.
In a May 10
decision, Suffolk superior court judge Thomas Connolly found
that those marriages are legally valid, saying that same-sex
marriages became ''prohibited'' in New York only on
July 6, 2006.
''We've come such
a long way,'' said Adams, 45. ''We know that we have a
legally recognized marriage, and it's going to open up new
opportunities for us to be treated fairly, to get
benefits we deserve as a couple.''
It was unclear
exactly how many New York couples married in Massachusetts
during the two-year period, but GLAD said it was ''in the
hundreds.'' The group had previously said 173 New York
couples were affected.
Massachusetts legalized same-sex marriage, hundreds of
couples from other states went there to get married.
But former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney
directed municipal clerks not to give licenses to
out-of-state couples, citing a 1913 law that bars couples
from marrying in Massachusetts if the marriages would
be prohibited in their home states.
from six states challenged the law.
supreme judicial court ruled in March 2006 that
Massachusetts could use the 1913 law to bar gay couples from
Connecticut, Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont from
marrying in the state because they had an ''express
prohibition'' against same-sex marriage. The high court
said it was unclear whether same-sex marriage was
specifically banned in New York and Rhode Island and
sent that part of the case back to Connolly.
Connolly ruled in
September that gay couples from Rhode Island have the
right to marry in Massachusetts because marriage equality is
not expressly prohibited there.
Gay rights groups
praised Connolly's most recent ruling.
But Michael Long,
who heads New York's small but politically influential
Conservative Party, predicted Connolly's ruling wouldn't
hold up in New York.
thinking by some homosexual couples that the
interpretation of a particular judge will change their
status,'' Long said. ''The law in the state of New
York is very clear--marriage is between a man
and a woman.''
Long said the
issue could wind up back in New York courts if the gay
couples affected seek to press for marriage rights in their
home state. (Colleen Long, AP)