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Gay marriage opponents deride Paterson’s directive – QNS.com

Gay marriage opponents deride Paterson’s directive

Following a little noticed announcement from Governor David Paterson affording recognition of gay marriages in New York State performed elsewhere, groups opposing gay marriage have voiced their concern.
Earlier in May, Paterson issued a directive saying that gay New Yorkers who marry where it is legal will have the right to share family health care plans, receive tax breaks by filing jointly, and inherit property, among other things, though it was most widely publicized this past Thursday, May 29.
Paterson cited a February ruling in a New York Appellate Division court in which the judges determined that there is no legal impediment in New York to the recognition of a same-sex marriage.
The directive to New York agencies said same-sex marriages were legal in Canada, South Africa, Spain, Belgium and the Netherlands, and should recognize any such union in New York, a decision many feel is the next closest ruling to legalizing gay marriage completely.
Massachusetts is the only U.S. state that currently allows same-sex marriage, while several states allow gay civil unions. More than 25 states have constitutional amendments barring same-sex marriage.
Earlier this month, the California Supreme Court ruled that prohibiting same-sex marriage within the state violated its constitution. The ruling overturned a voter-approved ban on gay marriage.
Paterson’s predecessor as governor, Eliot Spitzer, who resigned in the midst of a sex scandal involving high priced prostitutes earlier this year, proposed legalizing same-sex marriage in New York last year, but said at the time he expected the bill to be rejected by the legislature.
“This is a milestone in the fight for fairness in New York,” New York Civil Liberties Union executive director Donna Lieberman said in a statement. “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.”
However, opponents of same-sex marriage cite Paterson’s directive as an encroachment of the Legislature and an attempt by the governor to circumvent the legislative process as a whole.
“We’re very concerned and a little confused that this decision was made,” said Stephen Hayford, a spokesperson for the Coalition to Save Marriage in New York. “That the governor thinks he knows better is disturbingly familiar to the heavy-handed tactics of Eliot Spitzer.”
Hayford characterized Paterson’s decision as “an unfortunate departure” from his recent record and “outside the scope of his authority.”
State Senator Serphin Maltese had similar sentiments, saying he was puzzled by Paterson’s decision to move unilaterally on the same-sex marriage issue.
“It is extremely disappointing that [the governor] has apparently usurped the prerogative of the Legislature,” Maltese said.
“I don’t know that it was the best step to take,” Maltese said. “I don’t think we should overturn five thousand years of biblical history in one fells woop.”
Paterson defended himself Thursday, saying, “This is not an end run around the Legislature. We have a time-held and time-tested tradition honoring those marital rights.”
The governor argued that the directive was in line with the approach the state has always maintained with respect to out-of-state marriages.
“I am following the law as it has always existed,” he said.

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