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Suit Against NY Gay Marriage Law Can Proceed

Suit Against NY Gay Marriage Law Can Proceed

 

Livingston County state Supreme Court Judge Robert Wiggins gave the go ahead Tuesday for a lawsuit challenging New York’s same-sex marriage law.

The suit, called New Yorkers for Constitutional Freedoms v. New York State Senate and brought by New Yorkers for Constitutional Freedoms, claims that closed-door negotiations between Senate Republicans and Gov. Andrew Cuomo in fact violated New York’s open meetings law. The suit further alleges that, in waiving the three-day waiting period between a bill’s introduction and a vote, Gov. Cuomo violated the Senate’s procedural rules.

Judge Wiggins said on Tuesday that there was at least enough evidence that the open meetings law had been violated to allow the case to proceed. However he concluded that the lawsuits second charge, that the three-day waiting period had been violated, fell outside the Court’s jurisdiction because the Senate had approved the motion.

From The Advocate:

“…The Court must consider allegations by Plaintiff as true,” wrote Wiggins. “Considering Plaintiff’s allegations, and without deciding matter at this time, the Court feels that is a justiciable issue presented whether there was a violation of the Open Meetings Law.”

Wiggins also addressed the allegation that Cuomo improperly issued a message of necessity to expedite a vote on the bill and avoid the normal three-day waiting period. In his message, the governor had cited the “long overdue” right of same-sex couples to enter into marriages in New York and the denial of “critical protections” to more than 50,000 couples caused by “continued delay” of the bill’s passage.

“Logically and clearly this cite by the Governor is disingenuous,” wrote Wiggins. “The review of such concept altering legislation for three days after generations of existing definitions would not so damage same-sex couples as to necessitate an avoidance of rules meant to ensure full review and discussion prior to any vote. Nonetheless, this Court is reluctantly obliged to rule that that the message of necessity submitted by the Governor was accepted by vote of the Senate, and is NOT within this Court’s province to nullify.”

Wiggins doled out specific criticism over the state’s attempts to have the challenge dismissed, with Wiggins saying:  ”It is ironic that much of the state’s brief passionately spews sanctimonious verbiage on the separation of powers in the governmental branches, and clear arm-twisting by the Executive on the Legislative permeates this entire process.”

The state administration is yet to issue a comment beyond reiterating that it believes the case is “without merit.”

Rev. Jason J. McGuire, New Yorkers for Constitutional Freedoms Executive Director and a plaintiff in the suit, said of the decision to proceed: “I’m grateful that Judge Wiggins carefully weighed the arguments and agreed that this case has sufficient merit to move forward.”

“We have said all along that we look forward to our day in court. Now we will have it. The legality of our legislative process must be protected,” concluded McGuire.

Related Reading:

Lawsuit Filed Challenging NY Gay Marriage Law

“Ordinary” Grandmothers First NY Gay Couple to Wed (VIDEO)

New York’s Same-Sex Marriage Lottery, a NOM Rally and Hairy Puppet Marriage

 

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Photo used under the MorgueFile user license, with thanks to mensatic.

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43 comments

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7:19PM PST on Dec 5, 2011

Dawid...the only good news would be if you FINALLY decided to come out of the closet and stop bashing the LGBT community! You and Steve R are two of a kind...or maybe you're both one in the same?!?

8:08AM PST on Dec 5, 2011

Jenn C, thank you for moving away from NY and taking your homophobic "family values" with you.

12:01PM PST on Dec 4, 2011

If the religious right/repukes/teabags can't challenge something on the merits, they go for technicalities. Shame on you for not using your money and resources to fix the economy and begin creating jobs!

6:19PM PST on Dec 2, 2011

everyone deserves equal marriage rights

10:28AM PST on Dec 2, 2011

Thank you for the article...

6:40AM PST on Dec 2, 2011

I hope the civil rights of all the gay people in NY are not lost because they didn't do everything exactly right. With all the opposition to this they should have known to be careful. I hope this suit fails, because no matter how it was done, it was the right thing to do.

10:27PM PST on Dec 1, 2011

Great news! Thanks for posting.

6:55PM PST on Dec 1, 2011

DISGUSTING!BOOM BYE BYE!

6:47PM PST on Dec 1, 2011

I really hope the legislaters didn't make any mistakes that could be challenged in court with regards to this law! That would be awful, to have the rug yanked out from under people. What would happen to those same-sex couples who've already wed?

2:27PM PST on Dec 1, 2011

First I said: Judge Wiggins should be ashamed and then I thought, oh crap did they screw it up? Folks have waited so long to have the freedom to wed who they pleased and if the legislature didn't dot their I's and cross their T's properly all will be in limbo yet again...I truly hope that is not the case! So frustrating....grrrr!

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Steve Williams Steve Williams is a passionate supporter of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Trans (LGBT) rights, human... more
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