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NYT: State's highest court to rule on SSM tomorrow

It looks like big news will be coming from the Empire State tomorrow. Its high court will rule on whether gays and lesbians can marry.

There are several directions the Court of Appeals could take, lawyers said. The most sweeping would be a clear affirmation of a constitutional right of same-sex couples to marry, which would make New York the second state in the nation after Massachusetts to allow such marriages. In that case, the court could order the Legislature to rewrite the state’s marriage law.

…The New York court could also reach a compromise position by finding that the current law is a violation of equal protection, but ruling that establishment of civil union, rather than full-scale marriage, for same-sex partners would be enough to cure the violation.

…”On the one hand, if there is a victory in the case, it would be a great and historic day,” said Roberta A. Kaplan, one of the lawyers who argued for gay marriage before the high court in May. “On the other hand, I’m sure we’ll all look at this issue five years from now and say, what was the big deal? Because there is a clear line of authority now moving in our direction.” One “friend of the court” brief arguing against same-sex marriage said that opposition “is not rooted in animus towards gay and lesbians,” but in the conviction that “only opposite-sex unions can both create the next generation and connect those children to the mother and father who made them.”

The court could also take a more administrative tack, by simply ruling that words like “husband” and “wife” in the marriage code should be changed to gender-neutral words like “spouse.”

Hat tips to Chris and Holly.

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Pam Spaulding

Pam Spaulding