In a groundbreaking ruling, the New York supreme court appellate
division has held that the state has the power to annul a civil union
established in another state, the Times Union reported.
"This is an important ruling," said Thomas W. Ude Jr., staff attorney for Lambda Legal, who filed a brief in support of plaintiff Audrey Juanita Dickerson. "A different ruling here would leave the persons legally entangled with each other and people have to move on with their life."
Two Schenectady county residents, Dickerson and Sonya Denise Thompson, traveled to Vermont in 2003 to enter into a civil union. Three years later, the couple separated and Dickerson went to Vermont to get the union annulled, only to be told she needed to live in the state for a year before she was eligible to apply.
Dickerson then asked for an annulment from the Schenectady County supreme court in 2008 and was denied because the state had no legal framework to recognize a legal relationship between same-sex partners or to dissolve the unions.
Thursday's ruling is a result of an appeal by Dickerson.
"Today, the public policy of our state protects same-sex couples in a myriad of ways,'' justices wrote in their decision. ''Two provisions of the Public Health Law define a domestic partner to include one who is 'formally a party in a domestic partnership or similar relationship with the other person, entered into pursuant to the laws of the United States or of any state, local or foreign jurisdiction."