Mass. judge validates over 170 New York gay marriages

Anthony Cuesta | May 16, 2007

NEW YORK, NY — More than 170 New York same-sex couples who married in Massachusetts between 2004 and 2006 are legally wed, a high court judge ruled.

The Associated Press reports that Massachusetts Superior Court Judge Thomas Connolly ruled last week that since New York had not yet explicitly banned same-sex marriages before last July, those marriages are legally valid.

'The marriages are now legally valid in New York and they should expect to be treated as married couples,' said Carisa Cunningham, a spokeswoman for Gays and Lesbian Advocates and Defenders (GLAD) in Boston, to Reuters.

Couples are barred from marrying in Massachusetts if their marriages would be prohibited in their home states. The New York Court of Appeals ruled against same-sex marriages on July 6, 2006.

GLAD had asked for clarification of the status of New York couples who married in Massachusetts before that ruling. Massachusetts became the first state in the country to allow gay marriage in May 2004.

A spokesman for New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo indicated that his office considers the marriages at issue valid.

"Since 2004, it has been the position of the attorney general's office that New York law presumptively requires the recognition of marriages validly performed in other jurisdictions," said New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer in a media statement.

"Just being able to say without any qualifications – 'we're married' – it feels great," the AP quotes Amy Zimmerman, a New York City resident who married Tanya Wexler in Somerville on May 19, 2004, the third day same-sex weddings were allowed in Massachusetts. – Issued by Gay Link Content

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