Top US courts rule against same sex marriage

Troy Espera | July 07, 2006

Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean
NEW YORK — The New York Court of Appeals ruled yesterday, in a 4�2 vote, that marriage recognition for same-sex couples can only be granted through the state legislature, garnering a call to action from the state�s queer Democrats and their supporters to lobby legislators to enact pro-gay marriage laws.

"Today's decision by the New York Court of Appeals, which relies on outdated and bigoted notions about families, is deeply disappointing, but it does not end the effort to achieve this goal,� said Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean, in a statement issued in response to the ruling. "As that essential process moves forward, it is up to the State legislature to act to protect the equal rights of every New Yorker and for the debate on how to ensure those rights to proceed without the rancor and divisiveness that too often surrounds this issue."

Legislation to grant such recognition to same-sex couples was authored by Democratic State Senator Thom Duane, and is supported by the New York State Democratic Party. Democratic gubernatorial nominee and Attorney General Eliot Spitzer has vowed to introduce such legislation if elected this November.

"The majority of New Yorkers support marriage equality and we are now seeing a new generation of Democrats emerge in the Empire State whose leadership will help turn that support into law," said Jo Wyrick, NSD Interim Executive Director, in a media statement issued by The Stonewall Democrats on Thursday. "Although Republican Governor George Pataki strongly opposes marriage recognition for same-sex couples, LGBT Democrats throughout New York will soon help elect a Governor who has vowed to lead his fellow Democrats in enacting legislation granting full marriage equality to same-sex couples."

The New York State Democratic Party overwhelmingly passed a resolution in 2003 that calls for marriage recognition for same sex couples in the state. Additionally, the majority of New Yorkers support marriage equality according to a recent poll released in April. Gubernatorial nominee and Attorney General Eliot Spitzer is one of a number of leading Democrats in New York who has pledged to work with the state legislature to pass legislation granting marriage equality to same-sex couples.

Matt Foreman, executive director of The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, called the decision �intellectually strained� and �insulting to gay and lesbian people.�

�It is an egregious departure from the New York Court of Appeal�s long and proud tradition of advancing liberty and dismantling discrimination,� said Foreman in the Task Force�s response to the ruling. �It is a disgrace to the constitution and the people of New York.� Republican New York Governor George Pataki, who appointed the majority of justices of the New York Court of Appeals, told reporters Wednesday that same-sex couples should be prevented from entering into civil marriages. "Marriage is between a man and a woman; that's what it's been in America, in New York, since the founding of this state," said Governor Pataki, who is currently considering a bid for the Republican nomination for President in 2008.

Currently, the platforms of the state Democratic parties of California, Colorado, Iowa, Massachusetts, New York and Washington State call for full marriage equality for same-sex couples. Numerous county and local Democratic parties have also called for marriage equality, as have Democratic organizations like the College Democrats of America and the Young Democrats of America. For the first time, 2006 will also see Democratic gubernatorial nominees champion full marriage equality in California, Massachusetts – Issued by Gay Link Content

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