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Newsday: NY State Supreme Court rules — gays may marry; Raw Story Q has complete ruling

Have to put this kick-*ass news up to counter the black cloud here in NC. My other “home state” has come through for us. There still needs to be a ruling at the Court of Appealse (see this graphic of the NY court system), but this is promising.

Here’s the scoop from NY Newsday:

A Manhattan judge declared Friday that a section of law that forbids same-sex marriage violates the state constitution, a ruling which if upheld on appeal would allow gay couples to wed. State Supreme Court Justice Doris Ling-Cohan ruled that the words “husband,” “wife,” “groom” and “bride” in relevant sections of the Domestic Relations Law “shall be construed to mean ‘spouse,’ and all personal pronouns … shall be construed to apply equally to either men or women.”

Ling-Cohan, ruling for five same-sex couples who were denied marriage licenses, also said the New York City clerk could not deny a marriage license to any couple solely on the ground that the two are of the same sex.

One couple, Mary Jo Kennedy and Jo-Ann Shain, said they were very happy about the ruling and believed it would offer their family increased legal protection. They have been together 23 years and have a 15-year-old daughter who is Shain’s biological child. “We’re just overjoyed,” said Shain. “We didn’t think it would ever happen. Kennedy said she wants to marry Shain as soon as possible. “I can’t wait,” she said. “We went to buy a (marriage) license in March 2004 and couldn’t get it. That’s what started this whole thing.”

The city Law Department issued a statement saying only, “We are reviewing the decision thoroughly and considering our options.”


The opinion was written by State Supreme Court Justice Doris Ling-Cohan.

RAW STORY

It was only less than 40 years ago that the United States Supreme Court held that anti-miscegenation statutes, adopted to prevent marriages between persons solely on the basis of racial classification, violate the Constitution because they infringed on the freedom to marry a person of one’s choice. Similarly, this Court must so hold in the context of same-sex marriages.

Simply put, marriage is viewed by society as the utmost expression of a couple’s commitment and love. Plaintiffs may now seek this ultimate expression through a civil marriage. Rote reliance on historical exclusion as a justification improperly forecloses constitutional analysis and would have served to justify slavery, anti-miscegenation laws and segregation.

There has been a steady evolution of the institution of marriage throughout history which belies the concept of a static traditional definition. Marriage, as it is understood today, is both a partnership of two loving equals who choose to commit themselves to each other and a State institution designed to promote stability for the couple and their children. The relationships of plaintiffs fit within this definition of marriage.

Similar to opposite-sex couples, same-sex couples are entitled to the same fundamental right to follow their hearts and publicly commit to a lifetime partnership with the person of their choosing. The recognition that this fundamental right applies equally to same-sex couples cannot legitimately be said to harm anyone.

More is up at RawStoryQ now. The complete ruling is up now (summary and PDF) at this link, or click the image below.

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Pam Spaulding

Pam Spaulding