Why Should New York Support Marriage Equality for Same-Sex Couples?

The New York City Bar Association has released a report titled “Why Should New York Support Marriage Equality for Same-Sex Couples?” The report was co-authored by the Committee on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Rights and the Committee on Sex and Law, and endorsed by a wide variety of City Bar committees covering areas such as trusts and estates, labor and employment and health law.

In sum, the Report concludes that there is no legitimate basis for denying same-sex couples the rights, privileges and obligations of marriage that are extended to opposite-sex couples. Indeed, by virtue of a patchwork of piecemeal statutes, executive measures, court decisions and regulations, New York already recognizes the validity of same-sex marriages performed in other jurisdictions. However, according to the Report, this cannot substitute for the automatic rights that the state grants to opposite-sex married couples. Likewise, the Report concludes, civil unions are no substitute for marriage and, in fact, they would be a backward step for New York. In addition to being poorly understood and erratically recognized, civil unions would only serve to relegate a particular group of New Yorkers, including their children, to an unacceptable second-class status.

City Bar President Sam Seymour said, “By passing a bill that provides full marriage equality, the legislature will clearly determine who is married under New York law and their rights and duties, while honoring New York’s history as a leader in the area of equality and civil rights.”

The report may be read here: