New York's highest court today turned back an attempt by gay and lesbian couples to win equal treatment under New York State's marriage law, saying that the state constitution "does not compel recognition of marriages between members of the same sex."
The majority opinion agreed with lawyers for New York City and New York State that there was a rational basis "grounded in the stability of the family as a child-rearing institution" for limiting marriage to a union of one man and one woman.
But it left open the possibility that the state Legislature could decide to allow same-sex marriages.
"We hold that the New York Constitution does not compel recognition of marriages between members of the same sex," Judge Robert S. Smith wrote in the majority decision. "Whether such marriages should be recognized is a question to be addressed by the Legislature."
Chief Judge Judith Kaye, joined by Judge Carmen Beauchamp Ciparick, offered a departure from the dry legal language of the main decision, noting that the plaintiffs represented a cross-section of ordinary New Yorkers, including a police officer, a doctor, a teacher and an artist, who wanted "only to live full lives, raise their children, better theicommunitieses and be good neighbors."
Judge Kaye added: "For most of us, leading a full life includes establishing a family," and looking forward to a wedding "as among the most significant events of their lives."
She suggested that it was wrong for the plaintiffs to be denied the rights and responsibilities of civil marriage, "because of who they love," adding that New York had a tradition of equal rights, and "the court today retreats from that proud tradition."
Judge Kaye is correct. Today's court decision was illogical and represented cowardly judges that ginned up convoluted logic. Perhaps, they were afraid that they might get hate mail from the right wing and be called (gasp) "liberals."
This will go down as one of the worst decisions in the state's history.
if i was in new york - i'd be there. people have a right to the rigths and privileges afforded heterosexual couples.
posted by Anonymous, at
7/06/2006 1:38 PM
The court's decision did not surprise me. I listened to the first hearing on May 31 and you could see that the majority of the justices were not in favor of opening marriage to same-sex couples. As long as there are more republicans in control of Albany, and even if Spitzer wins as the new Governor, its going to be a long, drawn-out battle and its not going to happen any time soon, unfortunately. Its an appalling setback for us and a cowardly thing to do to us.
It frightens me terribly to see the courts in the hands of the liberals. How could denying a portion of the population the right to marry be constitutional in the minds of any prudent judge? It falls under the basic right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
To tell a gay man or woman that he or she cannot marry the person of his or her choosing smacks of fascism. We are in the 21st century, yet my country is trying dictate whom I should marry. And this is constitutional?
I am fortunate. So far in the State of Maryland where I live, the courts have thrown out the man/woman marriage only law as unconstitional and the legislature has rejected a constitutional amendment. Now is goes back to the courts. But I have faith. I will be married sometime in this decade and it will be recognized by my state if not the federal government.
FAO Anonymous: yes, the assembly is in democratic control, but the senate isn't where the republicans hold sway. The key republicans said they will not support marriage equality, ever. Its going to be a very difficult struggle to get marriage equality through legislation in this state. Yes, Spitzer is doing well and is solidly behind marriage equality, he gets my vote.
I have an uncanny feeling that New Jersey will beat New York on marriage equality though. Holding my breath.
Thanks Robert, You confirmed what I thought, but what I can't find are any reports on the chances that the NY Senate will turn Democrat in the next election - this would shift power and allow marriage legslation to get out of committee.
Does anyone know of any reports that discuss Democrats chances in the fall of retaking the NY senate?
I felt totally disheartened and frustrated reading the decision yesterday. I live in Santorum country and was truly hoping the court would listen and digest the studies, spend time among gay and lesbian families and open their eyes and realize that continuing to deny same-sex marriage damages children and families. Continuing to deny marriage rights and equal protections, tells our children that they are less normal, less desirable as playmates, friends, spouses. I've got a large pile of response letters here from Mr. Santorum, each telling me how things are going to be in my state because he's the boss. I am fighting to make sure he won't be for long.
posted by Helen, at
7/07/2006 9:58 AM
ONLY hetero couples shall be accorded the rights and privileges of marriage? Well, regardless of whether or not a gay couple marries, they WON'T?
They really get away with insulting even hetero couples in a way. Especially those who didn't 'naturally' procreate or procreated at all. THEY didn't marry to benefit children. I don't think ANY state can legislate the optimum family, and not disqualify a whole host of straight people too. The inference is gay people are inferior, and unqualified to do anything that straight people can do regardless of their qualities or character. This IS bigotry and irrational and proves that no matter what of merit a gay person can offer society or each other and their families as MORE stable individuals, it doesn't matter in the eyes of the law.
And it's not like you can take your marbles and go home. By being a citizen, you are engaged in the responsibilities of your lives, without the optimum choices to make the best of it. And THAT'S supposed to be guaranteed in the Constitution and Bill of Rights. I say if you can fulfill your obligations in taxes and family care that support the state, you should be accorded the priviliges as well FROM the state.
posted by Regan, at
7/07/2006 1:56 PM
It doesn't seem to matter who decides what. Here in CA the legislature decided to legalize marriage, without religious compunction and the governor vetoed it. The governor said he'd go along with the court decision, but if that happened, they'd be called 'activist courts and judges and legislatures' as they were in MA. The vox populi will demand to make the decision and they have, and it's used time and time again as a standard on which this important personal decision rests. And this demand is allowed because there is an unequal and perpetual majority advantage. No straight person should have domain over the decisions a gay person MUST make for themselves.
posted by Regan, at
7/07/2006 2:02 PM
gays are a minority. not everyone has a gay perspective. however, people can be educated to have a perspective that treats diversity with equality. but you can't say for us and not for those right wingers over there. equality means just that, everyone.
posted by Anonymous, at
7/07/2006 2:41 PM
The reason that they are able to get away with this discrimination because they don't feel that it is discrimination. As long as the Ex-gay movement is around telling the legislature that homosexuality is a choice and not something born in, than to give us the right to marry is considered special privilage and not equal rights. Because in their eyes, we could be just like everyone else, but we choose not to be.
posted by jekelhyde, at
7/09/2006 2:11 PM
just because some people choose not to act on their homosexual feelings does not mean that they should not try to do so for the sake of homosexuals who do act on their homosexual feelings. just because homosexuals want their equal rights does not mean that they should demand others act out on their homosexual feelings. it's sort of like saying gays are being denied the right to exist so we (as gays) want to deny the right of ex-gays to exist. why can't both groups exist?? ( I expect some radical from the left or right to attack on this idea of cooperation)
posted by Anonymous, at
7/09/2006 4:56 PM
I'm not talking about individuals who may represent a small minority of people who have changed orientation. I'm talking about the larger groups who are insistant that we all can and should do likewise. They are the ones who are helping fuel the ignorance and helping to deny me my equal rights to marriage by telling everyone that I could be like everyone else, I just choose not to be. Don't ask me why we can't all just co-exist. Ask them? Perhaps you have changed. Good for you. I can't. At this point in my life, I wouldn't but when I was in high school, to avoid getting stuffed into my locker; to avoid getting shoved down the stairs; to avoid getting beaten up; hell yes I would have changed. When people talk about the ex-gay movement, they are not talking about you. They are talking about the liars who play upon the vulnerablities of those who have false hope; those who hate themselves because these groups tell them that they should. Because these groups tell them that God hates them for what they are. And it is what they are, not just what they do. I am gay. But because of this fact, I should not be denied the right to marry. I'm not asking for a Brittney Spears half hour marriage. I'm talking about getting legal recognition for a relationship that has lasted 8 years and a relationship that I plan to see last until my death at the ripe old age of 115. I am perfectly willing to say that you exist. But I expect and demand the ability to exist myself, from you and the bigger picture. And they are the ones I am fighting, not you.
And I apologize for my angry tone, it just seems that everytime someone critizes the ex-gay movement, you pop up. You, as an individual, are not the focus of this forum. It's the MOVEMENT. Those who would strive to keep us from equality, just because they don't appreciate our sex lives.
I am gay. But Gay is only a small part of what I am. To them, it is the only part. And it is the part that keeps me from attaining first class citizenship.
I don't want special privilages. I want equal rights. That isn't too much to ask.