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NY State Court of Appeals punts on SSM

[UPDATE: HRC’s statement added at the end.]

A disappointing 4-2 decision, but the ruling merely states that the right to marry isn’t guaranteed in the state’s Consitution, so SSM will ultimately be decided in the Empire State’s legislature. (PageOneQ):

New York’s highest court, the Court of Appeals, has ruled against granting full marriage equality to gay and lesbian couples, PageOneQ has learned. Chief Justice Judith Kaye, an appointee of former Governor Mario Cuomo (D) and one other justice dissented in the opinion.

“We hold that the New York Constitution does not compel recognition of marriages between members of the same sex. Whether such marriages should be recognized is a question to be addressed by the Legislature,” the seventy page ruling begins.

The ruling is here.

PageOneQ also reports that the Empire State Pride Agenda will hold rallies at seven locations in NY, kicking off a campaign for marriage equality via the state’s legislature.

***

NJ’s Garden State Equality is unfazed (H/t, Lassiter Space).

Today’s decision in New York has zero impact on — and is no indication of — how the New Jersey Supreme Court might rule on marriage for same-sex couples. Not even the slightest.

On LGBT rights as well as on other social issues, New Jersey law has long been different from New York State’s and the laws of other states. Additionally, New Jersey courts have been among the most fair-minded in the country, from allowing same-sex couples to adopt jointly to holding that the Boy Scouts may not discriminate against a gay scoutmaster.

All of us at Garden State Equality salute our colleagues at the Empire State Pride Agenda, who have done a magnificent job in their public education campaign in New York, and have laid the groundwork for achieving marriage equality there legislatively. They have our deepest admiration.

***

More less-than-positive news (though not unexpected): Georgia Supreme Court Upholds Anti-Gay Marriage Amendment.

The Georgia Supreme Court Thursday overturned a lower court ruling and reinstated the a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage.

In a unanimous ruling the court said that the ban did not violate the state’s single-subject rule for ballot measures.

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HRC’s statement:

The Court’s majority opinion ruled that the Legislature had a rational reason for denying marriage, saying it’s more important to promote stability in opposite-sex relationships than same-sex relationships and insinuating that children do not do as well with lesbian and gay parents.

“The Court’s archaic reasoning is rooted in ignorance and completely contradicted by the facts of today,” said Human Rights Campaign President Joe Solmonese. “The Court threw the expert advice of child welfare professionals and years of scientific evidence out the window with its ruling against fairness. We commend the work of Lambda Legal, the ACLU and the plaintiff couples who had the courage and resolve to bring these cases forward.”

Solmonese continued, “This case raised the issue of fairness and equality for all New Yorkers who saw first-hand the real people fighting for their families. Thanks in large part to these couples and the hard work of the Empire State Pride Agenda, now a majority of New Yorkers support marriage equality and we will work with our allies in the state to ensure that the Legislature hears their voices loud and clear. As we move forward, we will continue to work with Empire State Pride Agenda and allies in the state to engage elected officials about why all Americans deserve the protections and responsibilities that only marriage provides.

“Every couple in a loving and committed relationship should be able to obtain the legal protections that only come with marriage,” added Solmonese. “We know that the struggle for equality is never quick or easy, but history has taught us that with determination, debate and devotion – the side of progress ultimately prevails. We will continue to move forward.”

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Pam Spaulding

Pam Spaulding