Guest Author - Jason P. Ruel
The New York Court of Appeals denies Same-Sex Marriage.
The New York Court of Appeals just made the biggest mistake of their career. On July 5, 2006, the justices, with a 4-2 vote, denied the appeal in the case of Samuels and Gallagher, et. al. v. New York Department of Health (May 31, 2006). The plaintiffs had hoped that the Court of Appeals would see the truth and allow them to finally be able to get the same rights of heterosexual people and get married. The State Law states bars same-sex couples from being married and also denies them the same rights that are afforded to those who are able to get married.
According to a release by the American Civil Liberties Union on July 6, 2006:
“The court accepted the justifications advanced by Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Attorney General Eliot Spitzer for the state law barring marriage by same-sex couples. Pointing out that stable relationships between parents are important for children, that straight couples can conceive children by “accident,” and that gay couples can only have children with advance planning, Bloomberg and Spitzer argued that straight couples need the stability of marriage, but gay couples do not. “
The ACLU points out that this same argument was over-ruled in Arkansas as a reason why GLBT person could not foster children.
It is attitudes like this that harm innocent men, women, families, and ultimately children. Without the ability to get the same benefits that are afforded by “traditional marriage”, GLBT persons must take other legal steps to ensure them as well as their families are protected in the event of a tragedy. Unfortunately, these legal measures are sometimes not enough and can and have been challenged in court and the glbt families lost.
But the battle is not over. In their dissenting opinion, the Chief Justice Kaye, and Judge Ciparick, criticized the majority’s decision. It stated, “This state has a proud tradition of affording equal rights to all New Yorkers. Sadly, the Court today retreats from that proud tradition.” … “I am confident that future generations will look back on today’s decision as an unfortunate misstep.”
The people of New York, while they may dislike their courts, should be proud of these two people. They can clearly see the implications of the decision and that it was a mistake.
The battle is not over. The plaintiffs have vowed to appeal. They cannot afford not to. It is their families who are at risk, and family comes first.
I applaud the Chief Justice and Judge Ciparick on taking an uncommon and risky stance to say that the court was wrong, and that glbt persons and families deserve the same rights and protections under the law.
Jason P. Ruel
BellaOnline.com’s Gay Lesbian Editor