Recently sworn-in New York Governor, David Paterson, has issued a directive that all state agencies begin to revise their policies and regulations to recognize same-sex marriages performed in other jurisdictions, like Massachusetts, California and Canada. Article.
While New York State has yet to legalize marriage in the state, efforts to do so are still in the works. This is very cool because, not only can gays go to other states where it’s okay and be recognized once back home, it’s a signal on the where the chief executive of the state stands on the issue. While I’m sure there will be many challenges to this directive, it’s a forward-step and I’m proud of Paterson, who has longstanding alliances in the gay community, for standing up and stepping forward.
I met Governor Paterson years ago, before I knew he was legally blind. I didn’t know it then but felt that he wasn’t quite looking at me. Well, apparently he was and now is doing something that will be beneficial to me.
Now if I can only find somebody interested dating me, let alone to discuss marriage.
I see the article mentions Martinez v. County of Monroe (pdf) in which a state appelate court ruled that such marriages had to be legally recognized. That ruling was issued in February of this year, and as I understand it codifies the opinion issued by then-Attorney general Elliot Spitzer saying the same thing.
ETA: I’d consider dating you, but I live just below the surface of depravity and long-distance relationships just don’t work.
Under New York procedure, questions relating to the powers and duties of government officials may be submitted (by the official in question or another official, e.g. the chairman of the county legislature asking if the county clerk is obliged to do something he/she refuses to do but the chairman thinks is a jub requirement) to the State Comptroller or the State Attorney General. He (or actually a lawyer on his staffr in his name) issues an advisory opinion binding unless overruled by a court or statute law.
Spitzer issued an OpAG advising state officials tha in the absence of statute saying otherwise, they were obliged to give full faith and credit to Massachusetts marriages (and Vermont civil unions, I believe; nobody else was in place yet).
The Martinez case cited by Otto gave high-court validation to Spitzer’s advisory opinion, making it mandatory precedent in the state court system.
All this is, of course, not related to whether one can contract a same-sex marriage in New York (so far, no), but to whether a legally married (or civilly unionized or domestically partnered) same-sex couple moving to or visiting New York is deemed legally married there. Which they are.
This is an chief executive decision already backed up by the State Appellate Court, as Otto mentioned. The State Court of Appeals has already rejected an appeal by Monroe County on technical grounds and Monroe County is debating whether to re-appeal.
In another ruling, that Court ruled that the state’s Constitution did not compel the recognition of same-sex marriages and that it was up to the Legislature to decide whether do so. A same-sex marriage bill, passed by the Democratic Assembly is stuck in the Republican-dominated Senate, which refuses to even call a vote on it.
Although this concerns recognition o fmarriages and civil unions performed outside New York, in places such as California, Massachusetts, Vermont, Canada and even foreign countries, such as Spain, this is definitely a push for New York State legalization of same-sex marriage. And, definitely State Senator Joe Bruno is going to put up a fight against it.
Bruno, a Republican, and Temporary President and majority leader of the Senate, will take part in the fight against this directive but success by the governor, who is in office until 2011 seems quite possible. Right now, Bruno is also Lieutenant Governor, because of Paterson’s promotion, but can never ascend to the governorship from that position, only be temporary governor if Paterson is incapacitated or leaves office. If that happens a special election would have to be held for both offices, but I digress.
Whie still fairly powerful, Bruno’s (and general Republican) waning power and majority in the Senate, and the fact that he will probably never be able to control this fight from the office of the governor, means at some point same-sex marriage and the full privileges of citizenship for all will become the law of the land in New York State. The fact that this next crucial step is being taken by the current chief executive of the state with State Court backing gives more ammunition to the battle for those on the side of fairness and equality.
The thing that’s pissing me off is that there are already the usual suspects claiming that this policy of Patterson’s is, at best, “premature” and at worst an attempt to make an end-run around the Legislature.
I don’t want to see the state wasting more money having to defend not giving full faith and credence to other state’s marriages. It’s not going to work, and will only cost more and more. Besides, it’s simply right that the state allow any freely consenting adults to get married to the spouse of their choice.
Honestly? I doubt it. Manhattan still claims to be the center of the universe, and for certain things it may be, but the rest of the State is still leaking businesses and jobs. The long-term economic prospects for NYS have a number of warning signs that are worrisome. I don’t think the economy here is about to collapse, or anything, but the tax burden is notably higher than many other places - which leaves new businesses looking elsewhere to set up. And many current businesses are facing shifting markets, and often respond poorly.
It’s not that individual people might not have good reasons to move here, and this policy could make it more appealing for some of them, but overall, the general trends for the state leave me pretty certain that NY will continue to lose jobs and people for the foreseeable future.
Somehow I doubt this is what they were thinking of when they named the Rainbow Bridge, but somehow it seems rather apt that New York and Ontario are linked by such a thing, and at a cliched honeymoon destination to boot.
California does not have a residency requirement, and in fact San Francisco is hoping to build a tourism business in people traveling to the city for weddings. It’s also a relatively cheap flight from the New York City area to California.
Perhaps the most interesting thing about this issue is its effect on New York State politics.
For the past political eternity, in the New York State legislature, the Senate has been controlled by the Republicans and the Assembly has been controlled by the Democrats. There’s been an informal working arrangement to keep it that way, with each house handling things like redistricting to keep their party entrenched. Connected with this is extremely strong party discipline, which means the Assembly Speaker and Senate Majority Leader are in almost complete control of their respective houses. What this means is that the state government is a virtual triumvirate, with all legislation depending almost exclusively on agreement among the Governor and the two legislative leaders.
The political issue is that the state Senate is currently split 32-30 in favor of the Republicans, with the Republican majority slimming with the “bluing” of the state. The entire Senate is up for election in November, so a two member shift will mean that it will change to Democratic control. (Prior to Gov. Spitzer’s resignation, it would have needed just a single vote switch, as then-Lt. Gov. Patterson would have cast the deciding vote, but now Senate Majority Leader Bruno is acting Lt. Gov. and would control a tied Senate).
Politically, the Senate (and other state) Republicans have been elected from upstate and Long Island, while Democrats have been elected from New York City, and some other large cities like Buffalo. Long Island will be a particular battleground, as the formerly invincible Republican political machine there has been largely broken in many areas. with the region quickly trending Democratic. Although Long Island’s Senate delegation is now almost entirely Republican, there is real vulnerability there, particularly as the Presidential election will likely draw large Democratic turnout across the state. It has been said that if the Senate turns Democratic, gay marriage will be the first bill passed.
With this political background, gay marriage is a very sensitive issue, particularly for Senate Majority Leader Bruno. He is said to be considering challenging the Governor on his directive, but I suspect his main consideration will be the political risk of doing so. Putting the issue into the forefront might risk Senate seats held by Republicans in more liberal areas, but likely won’t gain much traction against seats now held by Democrats. Either way, this could be an important wedge issue in New York politics.
It seems the Conservative Party has jumped in, along with Joe Bruno, and fired the first salvo in the coming skirmish to settle the issue of recognizing same-sex marriages from other states and, surely, eventually the issue of same-sex marriage, by New York State.
“The Conservative Party released a statement, here, saying that the governor acted without giving New Yorkers the opportunity to be heard on the issue. The party also stated that marriage in New York ‘is between a man and a woman.’”
Apparently their approach to reversing this Monroe Court ruling and subsequent executive directive is to force a voter referendum and/or legislature action on the issue and, based on the definition provided, they are attempting to codify language that leaves gay men and woman out in the cold.
“Judges are supposed to interpret the laws as written, Governors are supposed to administer the laws as written and the Legislature writes the laws and so far, they have been silent on this issue. . . .”
Again, the angle here seems to be to force a voter/legislative stopgap measure by putting a man/woman-marriage definition into the state law and to actually circumvent the governor and a court order, which ciircumvention they accuse the governor and the judiciary of engaging in.
However, in Martinez, the Fourth Department held that legal same-sex marriages performed in other jurisdictions are “entitled to recognition in New York in the absence of express legislation to the contrary.” This decision was considered consistent with the holdings of several lower courts.
But, aren’t voter referenda particularly difficult to get through here in NYS? IIRC Silver has been on record opposing them, because, of course our grand legislators already represent our interests. So there’s no need to actually consider asking the people what they might want. :dubious:
I don’t think that the strategy of pushing for a state-wide referendum can bear fruit. For any position. And while I’m glad for the effect that will likely have on this particular strategy - I’m still firmly convinced that the legislative environment here in the state, as described by Billdo, is seriously broken, and that the possibility of referenda might be the tool needed to get the legislature to actually start to reform itself.