Friday, August 8, 2008

Paterson Win On Gay Rites Looks Likely - August 8, 2008 - The New York Sun

Love seeing the ADF lose money

Paterson Win On Gay Rites Looks Likely - August 8, 2008 - The New York Sun

Paterson Win On Gay Rites Looks Likely
By ABRAHAM RIESMAN, Special to the Sun | August 8, 2008
A New York Supreme Court judge seems poised to uphold Governor Paterson's pro-gay marriage policies against an attack from a Christian legal group.

The Alliance Defense Fund has sued Mr. Paterson, claiming the governor overstepped his boundaries when he issued an executive order in May calling for state agencies to ensure recognition of same-sex unions performed legally outside of New York. Currently, such marriages cannot be legally performed in the state.

During oral arguments yesterday, Judge Lucy Billings sharply questioned the lawyer representing the group, Brian Raum.

The most heated exchange came over one of the Alliance Defense Fund's key arguments: that the word "marriage" fundamentally means a bond between a man and a woman.

Mr. Raum argued that, if Mr. Paterson's interpretation of New York law were to stand, "then marriage would mean nothing. It would mean whatever any foreign jurisdiction says."

"Yes, it does mean that in New York," Judge Billings replied. She said that there could be an exception if a certain marriage were deemed "abhorrent" but did not say gay marriages fit that definition.

Judge Billings also implied that she would rule against the Alliance Defense Fund, forcing them to appeal their case. "The petitioners, I'm sure, are headed to a higher court," she said.

Recognition of out-of-state same-sex marriages has long been honored under New York common law. In 2006, the state's highest court, the Court of Appeals, ruled that the state constitution does not explicitly require the recognition of gay marriages but left open the question of whether such marriages could be recognized.

The Alliance Defense Fund argues that Mr. Paterson would need a new law explicitly honoring out-of-state gay marriages in order to issue a directive like the one he made in May.

New York advocates of gay marriage recognition have scored a number of legal victories since 2006. The Alliance Defense Fund has unsuccessfully tried to challenge recognition policies in three cases, and a February appellate court decision ruled that same-sex unions made out of state must be honored in New York, so long as there is no state law explicitly forbidding their recognition.

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