Challenge to NY Marriage Equality Thrown Out


A New York state appeals court has thrown out a suit challenging the legality of the process by which marriage equality was passed into law by the state’s Senate last year.

Reports the Advocate:

The Appellate Division of state Supreme Court in Rochester said in a 5-0 decision that closed-door negotiations between Republican senators and campaigners for the bill, including Governor Andrew Cuomo and New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, did not violate the state’s Open Meetings Law. New Yorkers for Constitutional Freedoms, a group representing evangelical Protestants that lobbied against the measure’s passage in Albany, filed the suit last year on July 25, one day after the new law took effect.

“Today the New York State Appellate Court, Fourth Department upheld New York’s Marriage Equality Act, which ensures that marriage is available to all New York couples regardless of sexual orientation,” said Cuomo in a statement. “This law was passed by both houses of the legislature and signed into law in June 2011. The court’s decision affirms that in our state, there is marriage equality for all, and with this decision New York continues to stand as a progressive leader for the nation.”

In November, Supreme Court Judge Robert Wiggins in Livingston County ruled that the case could proceed. His opinion raised eyebrows for its declarative language that there had been “clear” arm-twisting in order to pass the law–something the state’s administration strongly denied.

Religious right groups had charged that the way in which a vote on the law had been brought about, and also the closed door discussions between Governor Cuomo and Republican legislators, violated New York’s Open Meetings Law which requires the public be allowed access to discussions during the legislative process.

New Yorkers for Constitutional Freedoms, the state group behind the lawsuit, has indicated that it is assessing its legal options. It could appeal the ruling, however this week’s unanimous verdict would seem to set a high barrier against further action.


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

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


John B.
John B5 years ago

Thanks Steve for the article. Good for the Appellate Division of state Supreme Court in Rochester. Another court victory for Marriage Equality.

Carl Oerke
Carl O5 years ago

While it is true that the discussions and vote should have been open and transparent. The hope of overturning the constitutionality of a law on the grounds of procedural impropriety seems a bit far fetched if you ask me. Did New Yorkers for Constitutional Freedoms truly believe that they could have the law struck down because the discussions and vote were not open to the public and thereby have gay and lesbian citizens of the state denied their constitutional rights to equality under the law? New Yorkers for Constitutional Freedoms defends unconstitutionality!

Anita Wisch
Anita Wisch5 years ago

Human rights for ALL humans!

Marilyn L.
Marilyn L5 years ago


Linda W.
Linda W5 years ago

Happiness is...Thank you New York

Jen Matheson
Past Member 5 years ago

Another victory for us!

paul m.
paul m5 years ago


Vegan Tigger
Vegan Tigger5 years ago

Thank you

Jeffrey H.
Jeffrey H.5 years ago

Notice how bigotted, ultraconservative, right-wing, hatemongering groups like to incorporate something religious or patriotic in their names -- New Yorkers for Constitutional Freedoms, the anti-gay marriage group in the Empire state, is anything but for Constituional Freedoms.

(I'll bet they want to burn the Constituion, but they would never allow their precious flag to be burned because they use it to wave in people's faces.).
(I'll also bet they claim Jeezuz hated gays despite the fact that Jesus never mentioned anything about gays in the New Testament.)

Mary K.
Mary K5 years ago

Oh, oh. There's a petition abour "Fearless," by the Case Foundation. I haven't had time to check it out but the spiel sounds too repub/tparty; all the right words. Be careful before signing any petition or joining any org. Too many have been taken in by these repub/tparty organizations that keep popping up daily and it's almost impossible to get to their base - then to find out they're repub/tparty funded. There's No Labels, first item on their agenda is to force Prez Obama to accept a budget. Sure, Paul Ryan's. The 2d item is a 90 day limit for agency nominations. If we had that, there'd be no Consumer Protection Agency. I'm not saying they're a worthless effort, just sayin', after studying the republican party and then the repub/ Tparty when they finally lied their way into Congress, can't trust 'em, none at all. They'll lie at the drop of a hat, and say whatever their money funders want. Always cautious.