Thursday, June 5, 2008

Paterson's same-sex nuptial order challenged --

Paterson's same-sex nuptial order challenged --

June 4, 2008
ALBANY - A Christian legal organization filed a lawsuit yesterday to stop a gubernatorial order to state agencies to recognize same-sex marriages.

The Alliance Defense Fund's suit targets Gov. David A. Paterson's order to agencies last week to change regulations to extend benefits to gay couples who married outside the state. The Arizona-based organization contends the governor does not have the constitutional right to make the directive, a sentiment brought up last week by the Senate Republican majority.

"The governor should respect New York's marriage laws over the laws of foreign jurisdictions," said the group's senior counsel, Brian Raum.

Empire State Pride Agenda director Alan Van Capelle denounced the suit. He said, "This is another pointless lawsuit of an extremist, out-of-state organization that seems intent to kill equality legislation with litigation."

The Alliance Defense Fund has attempted similar legal actions three previous times in the state, with no success. In 2007 the group challenged the comptroller's office for offering retirement benefits to same-sex married couples.

Paterson's instructions last week came after a February appeals court decision found that "marriage recognition law" applies to out-of-state marriages of gay couples.

Before hearing about the lawsuit, Attorney General Andrew Cuomo said the governor did not seek his legal counsel before speaking to the state's agencies, but instead made the decision internally.

Noting that he personally supports same-sex marriage, Cuomo said, "If the legislature has a strong opinion and they disagree with the governor, they can act. It's called a piece of legislation."

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