New York state Governor David Paterson has directed state agencies to respect marriages of same-sex couples performed in other jurisdictions, including California, Massachusetts, and Canada.
"For the first time,
couples in New York who have never known true security for their
families will be officially entitled to treatment by our state
government that respects their rights. They should now finally get a
taste of the family protections other married couples and their
children enjoy," Donna Lieberman, executive director of the New York Civil Liberties Union, said in a statement. The directive affects as many as 1,300 statutes and regulations governing relationship recognition, reports the New York TImes.
The directive comes as a response to an appeals court ruling in a marriage recognition lawsuit, in which an employee of a state community college in Rochester sought health care benefits for her spouse, whom she had married in Canada. After a ruling finding the state was obligated to recognize the plaintiff’s marriage, the New York Supreme Court declined to review the case.
Gay rights advocates in the state have been pushing for legalization of same-sex marriage throughout this legislative session; this directive makes New York the third state in the country to recognize same-sex marriages performed elsewhere while not performing their own.
California’s ruling legalizing same-sex marriage will take effect June 17.