Friday, June 15, 2007

1,324 Reasons for Marriage Equality in NY

1,324 Reasons for Marriage Equality
Pride Agenda report lists benefits of same-sex nups

Friday, June 15, 2007

’Til death do us part. In sickness and in health. If you leave me, I will take half. The fight for marriage equality is not only about love and devotion, but also about the legal rights of individuals who bind themselves to each other.

There are 1,324 laws in New York State that validate the need for marriage equality. These include rights, responsibilities and protection that opposite-sex couples often take for granted, according to a report released by the Empire State Pride Agenda and the Association of the Bar of the City of New York (ABCNY).

Along with the 1,138 federal rights provided through marriage, there are 2,462 rights and responsibilities given to someone married in New York State, according to Allen A. Drexel, Co-Chair of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Rights Committee of ABCNY.

“Marriage permeates state law and, in many ways, defines the day-to-day experience of married couples in New York,” Drexel said.

The report explores the statutes and regulations that provide benefits or responsibilities through marriage. Examples include the reassurance that one spouse may not disinherit the other and that the child of a married couple is theirs, even if the baby was conceived through artificial insemination. A married person is also protected from having to testify in court regarding marital communications.

New York State law also ensures that spousal support can be received in the event of a divorce, elected officials may file financial statements about themselves and their spouses and spouses of convicted criminals may not apply for some types of licenses.

In banning same-sex marriage, legislation is denying LGBT individuals the rights and protections of certain laws. According to the report, “Married couples and their children can predict with relative confidence how they will be treated in each of the situations implicated,” but same sex couples cannot.
Same-sex couples are held in a “legal limbo” with uncertainty as to their health, inheritance and custody claims. The report asserts that “New York’s protection for same-sex couples and their children have until now developed on a case-by-case, law-by-law, and sometimes family-by-family basis.”

Although some New York government entities and cities have claimed that they will honor same-sex marriages performed elsewhere, the report shows many of the 1,324 listed rights and responsibilities can only be achieved by through marriage equality in New York.

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