ALBANY — The state’s highest court on Thursday upheld policies giving some government benefits to same-sex couples who are legally married outside the state, but did not rule on whether gay marriage should be legal in New York, leaving that issue for the Legislature to decide. Though the majority in the 4-to-3 decision focused its decision on the narrow question of benefits, the three judges in the minority went further and said the court should have upheld the policies because same-sex marriages legally performed in other states deserved to be recognized in New York.11/20/09 New York Law Journal:
ALBANY - The state Court of Appeals yesterday affirmed on narrow grounds the recognition of same-sex marriages by a county executive and a state agency, but by a bare 4-3 margin declined to extend full recognition to all such marriages contracted in other states and countries where they are legal.11/20/09 New York Public Personnel Law Blog:
Plaintiffs in this action are taxpayers challenging directives recognizing out-of-state same-sex marriages for purposes of public employee health insurance coverage and other benefits. The Court of Appeals held that that plaintiffs' actions were properly dismissed by the courts below.11/19/09 Lambda Legal press release/ Marriage Equality New York:
In a decision today, the New York Court of Appeals ruled that the State Department of Civil Service and Westchester County could extend government benefits to same-sex couples in out-of-state marriages. The ruling comes in cases in which Lambda Legal intervened on behalf of two married same-sex couples after the Alliance Defense Fund, an antigay legal group, tried to do away with longstanding New York law recognizing out-of-state marriages.11/19/09 Leonard Link, by law professor Arthur Leonard:
The New York Court of Appeals, the state’s highest court, has unanimously rejected two attempts by the Alliance Defense Fund, an anti-gay litigation group, to obtain invalidation of actions by government officials authorizing recognition of out-of-state same sex marriages. Godfrey v. Spano; Lewis v. N.Y.S. Dep’t of Civil Service, Nos. 147 & 148. The November 19 ruling actually divided the court 4-3, although all of the judges agreed on the result to reject the challenges.