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Could same-sex ‘marriage’ be legal in N.Y. by year’s end?

NEW YORK (BP)–If the cards continue falling their way, same-sex couples in New York state could be receiving marriage licenses by the end of the year.

Lawyers for New York City announced Feb. 7 that they will ask the Court of Appeals — the state’s highest court — for a quick review of a lower court judge’s ruling that struck down the state’s marriage laws and ruled that homosexual couples must be allowed to “marry.” The lawyers want to expedite the process and bypass the intermediate court, which normally would take an appeal first.

The pro-same-sex “marriage” decision by Justice Doris Ling-Cohan Feb. 4 conflicted with two other opinions that had upheld the state’s marriage laws.

To complicate matters further, New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, a liberal Republican, supports the legalization of same-sex “marriage,” even though he is the one who decided to appeal the ruling. He apparently wants the legislature, and not the courts, to change the law.

“I think it is in everybody’s interest to have the courts finally decide what our current laws say, and then if we want to change those laws let the Albany Legislature do that or not do that,” Bloomberg said, according to The New York Times.

The Times reported that the Court of Appeals rarely takes cases that seek to bypass lower courts.

Ling-Cohan ruled on behalf of five homosexual couples, saying the city must issue them marriage licenses. But she stayed her decision for 30 days to allow an appeal. Her 62-page decision — in which she asserted that marriage had “evolved over time” — was frustrating enough for pro-family leaders. Bloomberg’s support for same-sex “marriage” only added to their worries.

“We certainly have a concern about the mayor and his position,” Erik Stanley, chief counsel for the pro-family legal organization Liberty Counsel, told Baptist Press. “For him to state publicly that he’s thrilled with the decision, but that he’s going to appeal it, is just completely inconsistent.”

Liberty Counsel filed a friend-of-the-court brief on behalf of three state legislators, the New York Family Policy Council and Conservative Party Chairman Mike Long. Ling-Cohan denied Liberty Counsel’s motion to intervene in the case, but the organization intends to file a similar motion with the Court of Appeals.

“If this is going to set marriage policy for the state of New York, there needs to be a vigorous defense and a vigorous voice up there for traditional marriage,” Stanley said. “We just don’t believe the city is going to provide that.”

To make matters worse, the state’s attorney general — Eliot Spitzer — also supports the legalization of same-sex “marriage.” Spitzer is not involved in this particular case.

Last year Massachusetts followed the order of its highest court to become the first state to legalize same-sex “marriage.” Since then, homosexual activists have filed a plethora of lawsuits in state courts nationwide. Lawsuits seeking the legalization of same-sex “marriage” also are pending in California, Connecticut, Indiana, Maryland, New Jersey, Oregon and Washington state.

The Oregon case likely is moot in light of a marriage amendment passed by voters last fall. But Washington state’s case is scheduled for a hearing before the state supreme court in March.

Lawsuits also are pending in federal court against the Defense of Marriage Act — the 1996 law that gives states the option of not recognizing another state’s same-sex “marriages.”

“The same-sex marriage issue is a national issue that needs a national solution,” Stanley said, citing the need for a marriage amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

Even though the city of New York and Liberty Counsel both have argued for the current law to be upheld, they have gone about it differently, Stanley said.

“The city actually argued that same-sex couples make good parents,” Stanley said. “Those are arguments that we’re not making. We’re actually making the exact opposite [argument].”

Children need a mother and a father, Stanley said, adding that the state of New York has a right to pass laws supporting traditional families.

“We’ve … stated that marriage is uniquely situated for procreation,” he said. “It’s uniquely situated and is the best situation for children and for society as a whole. Government is allowed to promote that particular relationship as the ideal.

“Same-sex couples are not in that same position as traditional opposite-sex couples are.”

Stanley said Liberty Counsel attorneys often are asked why they support a federal marriage amendment.

“The reason is that, like this particular judge, it only takes one judge to throw the marriage laws into upheaval,” he said. “That decision, if it is upheld, has ramifications not just for that state, but for other states throughout the country, too.”

Stanley pointed to Massachusetts, where a same-sex couple received a marriage license and asked a court in Florida to recognize it. After losing in a lower court, the couple chose not to appeal. In Georgia, a homosexual couple failed in their bid to have their Vermont civil union recognized.

Speaking to reporters Feb. 7 Judith S. Kaye, chief judge of the Court of Appeals, refused to comment on the specific case.

“I expect someday the issue will come to us, in this case or another case,” she said after delivering a speech on the state of the judiciary, according to The New York Times.

Ling-Cohan sits on the state Supreme Court, which in New York is the trial-level court.
For more information about the national debate over same-sex “marriage,” visit http://www.bpnews.net/samesexmarriage

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  • Michael Foust