NYC Same Sex Marriage and Civil Ceremony

On February 4, 2005 State Supreme Court Justice Doris Ling-Cohan ruled that New York City could not deny marriage licenses to same sex couples because such denials are against the equal protection clause of the state’s constitution. The order was stayed for thirty days, pending an appeal (the Supreme Court is a trial-level court in New York, and the decision could be appealed either to the Appellate Division or directly to the Court of Appeals).

Later that year, the Appellate Division of the New York Supreme Court overturns Ling-Cohan’s decision on December 8, 2005.

Same Sex Marriages Recognized in NYC

Although NYC same sex marriage still cannot legally be performed, a 2008 directive issued by New York Governor David Paterson requires that all state agencies recognize same sex marriages performed in other jurisdictions. This means that a same sex couple can have a civil ceremony in any state where performing it is legal and then live in New York where their union is recognized as lawful.

The notion of legislating NYC same sex marriage may have majority support among the city’s population, according to the latest opinion polls, and the New York State assembly passed same sex legalization bills many times. Despite all this, the New York Senate rejected it in a vote on December 2, 2009.

What If Performing NYC Same Sex Marriages Is Finally Legalized?

The New York City Comptroller’s office issued an updated economic analysis in May 2009 purporting that New York State’s economy could earn $210 million in the three years immediately following the legalization of NYC same sex marriage.