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NYC recognizes out-of-state gay marriages

News that I somehow missed this week is that NYC will recognize out-of-state gay marriages (Canadian civil marriages as well as those in Massachusetts) and civil unions. (Gay City News):

In a letter to Alan Van Capelle, executive director of the Empire State Pride Agenda (ESPA), dated April 6, Anthony Crowell, special counsel to Mayor Michael Bloomberg, confirmed that New York City policy is to recognize any gay marriage or civil union legally entered into elsewhere as a marriage for purposes of city law.

The announcement strengthens a law passed in 2002 which confers all rights under the city’s domestic partner law on such unions.

According to Crowell, the statement is both an affirmation of Bloomberg’s policy position and a reflection of the city corporation counsel’s interpretation of state and city law. Van Capelle had sought a statement from Bloomberg’s office in the wake of an announcement by his administration last November that the city would recognize spouses of out-of-state gay marriages for purposes of the city’s employee pension benefits. That announcement followed a similar policy pronouncement from state Comptroller Alan Hevesi regarding New York State pension benefits.

Both the city and the Hevesi pension rulings were based, in part, on an advisory opinion issued last March by state Attorney Gen. Eliot Spitzer that binding state precedent requires New York State to recognize any marriage legally entered into in jurisdictions outside New York.

“No locality has to say this to make it the law of the state,” said Ross Levi, ESPA’s legislative counsel. “But it saves us from having to fight.

Time’s top five big city mayors: Bloomberg, Franklin, O’Malley, Daley, Hickenlooper.

In other news, Time magazine has named what it calls the “five best big city mayors” in America, giving the distinction to New York’s Michael Bloomberg, Atlanta’s Shirley Franklin, Baltimore’s Martin O’Malley, Chicago’s Richard Daley and Denver’s John Hickenlooper. Detroit’s Kwame Kilpatrick, San Diego’s Dick Murphy and Philadelphia’s John Street were dubbed the nation’s three worst mayors.

Gavin Newsom of San Francisco received an honorable mention.

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Pam Spaulding

Pam Spaulding