New York's highest court upholds gay marriage ban

Thursday, July 6, 2006

New York State's Court of Appeals today rejected suits brought by gay and lesbian couples who sought equal treatment under the state marriage law.

Three judges on the six-justice court signed the majority opinion, saying that gay marriage was a "question to be addressed by the Legislature." One justice concurred without signing the majority opinion and the remaining two dissented.

The ruling pertains to four lawsuits brought by 44 same-sex couples who argued that the ban on homosexual marriage violates their rights under the state constitution.

In its 4–2 ruling, the court wrote that it was reasonable for the state legislature to prohibit same-sex marriage on the grounds of stability in child rearing and rejected comparisons to miscegenation laws.

"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," said Judge Robert Smith on the ruling.

This decision will likely send the question of same-sex marriage back to the state legislature.

The only U.S. state that allows same-sex marriage is Massachusetts. A civil union between same-sex couples is recognised by Vermont and Connecticut. By either statutes or state amendments, 45 other U.S. states have made same-sex marriages unlawful.