Thursday, May 29, 2008

New York to recognize out-of-state same-sex marriages

As activists continue to applaud the California Supreme Court for ruling in favor of nuptials for same-sex couples, New York Gov. David Paterson has directed all state agencies to recognize these unions performed in Massachusetts, Canada and other jurisdictions where they are legal.

This mandate comes in response to a state Appellate Court decision earlier this year that found Patricia Martinez, an employee at Monroe Community College in Rochester who married her partner in Canada, could not be denied health benefits because of the long-standing precedent of recognizing marriages of same-sex couples legally performed in other jurisdictions. The Court of Appeals rejected the college's appeal, and Paterson's directive seems to put New York State on something of a fast-track to extend marriage to same-sex couples here.

Activists continue to pin their hopes for this reality on a Democratic-controlled state Senate next year, but Paterson's directly certainly puts additional wind into their sails as they set their sites towards that goal.

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