The New York
supreme court ruled Tuesday that Gov. David Paterson acted
within his gubernatorial powers when he issued an executive
order requiring state agencies to recognize same-sex
marriages performed in other states and countries, TheNew York Times reports. Same-sex marriage
has yet to be legalized in New York State.
Billings wrote in her opinion, "When partners manifest
the commitment to their relationship and family, by
solemnizing that commitment elsewhere, through one of
life's most significant events, and come to New
York, whether returning home or setting down roots, to carry
on that commitment, nothing is more antithetical to family
stability than requiring them to abandon that
solemnized commitment." She added, "Nothing is more
antithetical to family stability than requiring
[couples] to abandon that solemnized commitment."
the executive order on May 14. The Alliance Defense Fund,
a conservative group based in Arizona, represented 18 New
York lawmakers and other opponents in filing a suit
against the order in June, claiming that the order
illegally bypassed the legislature's role in issuing the
law. In July, Paterson and state attorney general Andrew
Cuomo filed a motion to dismiss the case. Paterson
said the order was to protect the state from being
sued by New York couples who got married in other places
and who would then seek recognition of their marriages upon
assembly passed a bill to allow same-sex unions in 2007, but
the bill has yet to come up for a vote in the senate,
according to the Times.
Jim Campbell, a
spokesman for the Alliance Defense Fund, said the group
would appeal the court's ruling. "We believe that the trial
court's ruling is incorrect and that the governor has
in fact usurped his authority by overriding the
people's decision to define marriage in New York as
the union of one man and one woman," he said in a statement.
represented state employees Peri Rainbow and Tamela Sloan,
who married in Canada and wanted their home state to
recognize their marriage. The court allowed the couple
to intervene in the case.
"The court said
that respect for out-of-state marriages of same-sex
couples is the law in New York," Susan Sommer, senior
counsel at Lambda Legal, said in a statement. "There
has been a steady drumbeat of courts recognizing
long-standing New York law as it applies to same-sex
couples; we are very pleased. This is yet another example of
the Alliance Defense Fund's failed attempts to
challenge well-established New York law."
the judge, according to Newsday. "This ruling is an
important affirmation that states are expected to
recognize same-sex marriages legally performed in
other states, unless existing laws prevent it," he
said in the article. "New York has no such prohibition."