N.Y. high court decides against gay marriage
State law doesn't permit gay, lesbian couples to marry, justices rule
ALBANY, N.Y. - New York's highest court ruled Thursday that gay
marriage is not allowed under state law.
The Court of Appeals in a 4-2 decision rejected arguments from gay
and lesbian plaintiffs throughout the state that their inability to
get marriage licences in New York violated their constitutional
Judge Robert Smith said New York's marriage law clearly limits
marriage to between a man and a woman and any change in the law
should come from the state legislature.
We do not predict what people will think generations from now, but we
believe the present generation should have a chance to decide the
issue through its elected representatives," Smith wrote
Governor Pataki's state Health Department and state Attorney General
Eliot Spitzer's office have argued that New York law prohibits
issuing licenses to same-sex couples. The state had prevailed in
lower appeals courts.
The judges declined to follow the lead of high court judges in
neighboring Massachusetts, who ruled that same-sex couples in that
state have the same right to wed as straight couples.
The four cases decided Thursday were filed two years ago when the
Massachusetts decision helped usher in a spate of gay marriage
controversies from Boston to San Francisco. In New York, the mayor of
the Hudson Valley village of New Paltz married about two dozen gay
couples in February 2004.
With little hope of getting a gay marriage bill signed into law in
Albany, advocates from the ACLU, Lambda Legal and other advocacy
groups marshaled forces for a court fight. Forty-four couples acted
as plaintiffs in the suits, including the brother of comedian Rosie
O'Donnell and his longtime partner.
"It's a sad day for New York families," said plaintiff Kathy Burke of
Schenectady. "My family deserves the same protections as my next door
Burke and her partner of seven years, Tonja Alvis, are raising her 11-
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