Tell Paterson and Cuomo that Same-Sex Marriage is Already Legal in NY

NY Governor David Paterson and Attorney General Andrew Cuomo have had all this time to undo the damage done by their joint predecessor NY Attorney General (then Governor) Eliot Spitzer.  Back when Green Party New Paltz Mayor Jason West and Deputy Mayor Rebecca Rotzler were the first in the US to marry same sex couples, cowardly Spitzer stepped in with an opinion from the AG’s office saying that same-sex marriage was illegal in NY, not based upon the law, but upon historical practice.

You see as Green Party Mayor West explained at the time, by marrying same sex couples, he was simply following the mandate of NY’s gender neutral Constitution.  In fact, NY State law does not require that a married couple be of different genders.  It is only a Health Department regulation which requires a marriage certificate be issued to a man and a woman.  If you remember your civics class, regulations are issued by the executive branch solely and can be changed at any time.

Therefore, now-Attorney General Cuomo should correct the fallacious legal opinion issued by then-Attorney General Eliot Spitzer.  And the current Governor David Paterson should sign an executive order for his Health Department to act Constitutionally and follow NY law by striking any reference to gender in its requirements for Marriage Certificates.

This would also help cut through the ridiculous gamesmanship in the NY State Senate over the passage of a same-sex marriage law for something that is already legal.

NY State Senator Duane does not – as some have suggested – need to decide if he wants to reward or punish the NY State Senate Democrats based on a same-sex marriage promise. State Senator Duane, and the LGBT community, can receive the justice they need through Cuomo and/or Paterson. So, the whole NY legislature does not need to be held in abeyance over this one issue. The whole battle is misguided.


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