Last February, Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Doris Ling-Cohan said that gay and lesbian couples should have equal access to marriage. This gave Mayor Bloomberg some problems, as he (and the city) was trying to keep gay marriage from being something the city would have to deal with - he would have preferred it to be a NY State constitutional issue. Yesterday, the Mayor's gay marriage headache subsided at the Appelate Court ruled that gay and lesbian couples have no "fundamental right" to marriage. Of course, they do if the Legislature changes the laws, but the chances of Albany doing that are slim. The Appellate Court is reading the state law very closely, saying:
"the union between one man and one woman. The law assumes that a marriage will produce children and affords benefits based on that assumption. It sets up heterosexual marriage as the cultural, social and legal ideal in an effort to discourage unmarried childbearing...Marriage laws are not primarily about adult needs for official recognition and support but about the well-being of children and society, and such preference constitutes a rational policy decision."
With our lack of legal expertise, we think the ruling is misleading, because it almost makes it seem as though gay couples with children might be eligible for marriage. The gay couples who were seeking the right to marry in NYC will continue to appeal the decision.