NY and Georgia Supreme Courts reject gay marriage  

redmustang91 57M  
8703 posts
7/6/2006 12:44 pm

Last Read:
7/6/2006 4:49 pm

NY and Georgia Supreme Courts reject gay marriage

Loyal readers of my blog know I support the right of gays to marry, as why should only straight people suffer? Two state Supreme Courts, NY and Georgia, disagree:

2 Top Courts Rule Against Gay Marriage
July 06, 2006 ALBANY, N.Y. -

The top courts in two states dealt setbacks to the gay marriage movement Thursday, with New York's highest court ruling same-sex unions are not allowed under state law and the Georgia Supreme Court reinstating a voter-approved ban on gay marriage.

In New York, the Court of Appeals said in a 4-2 decision that the state's marriage law is constitutional and clearly limits marriage to a union between a man and a woman.

Any change in the law would have to come from the state Legislature, Judge Robert Smith said.

"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.

In Georgia, the state Supreme Court reversed a lower court's ruling, deciding unanimously that the ban did not violate the state's single-subject rule for ballot measures. The ban had been approved by 76 percent of voters in 2004.

Massachusetts is the only state that allows gay marriage, although Vermont and Connecticut allow same-sex civil unions that confer the same legal rights. Forty-five states have barred same-sex marriage through statutes or constitutional amendments.

The New York decision said lawmakers have a legitimate interest in protecting children by limiting marriage to heterosexual couples and that the law does not deny homosexual couples any "fundamental right" since same-sex marriages are not "deeply rooted in the nation's history and tradition."

"It's a sad day for New York families," said plaintiff Kathy Burke of Schenectady, who is raising an 11-year-old son with her partner, Tonja Alvis. "My family deserves the same protections as my next door neighbors."

The state had prevailed in lower appeals courts.

"I am satisfied that today's decision by the state's highest court to uphold our position that marriage is between a man and a woman is the right one," Republican Gov. George Pataki said in a statement.

The lawsuit over the Georgia ban focused on the wording of the ballot measure that voters approved.

Lawyers for the plaintiffs had argued that the ballot language addressed more than one issue and that it was misleading because it asked voters to decide on both same-sex marriage and civil unions, separate issues about which many people had different opinions.

State officials held that Georgians knew what they were voting on when they overwhelmingly approved the ballot measure.

Republican Gov. Sonny Perdue, who had promised to call a the Legislature into session to handle the issue next month if the court had not ruled, thanked the justices for the quick ruling, calling it "the best outcome of all."

"This avoids a special session and we're delighted that that's the case," Perdue said. "We need to be very respectful of the people's voice and listen to that - that's what they did."

Jack Senterfitt, lawyer for Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund, which challenged the constitutional amendment, said he was disappointed but that no further legal challenge was planned.

In New York, 44 couples acted as plaintiffs in a series of lawsuits filed two years ago after the Massachusetts decision legalizing gay marriage sparked gay marriage controversies across the country.

With little hope of getting a gay marriage bill signed into law in Albany, advocates marshaled forces for a court fight. Among the plaintiffs were the brother of comedian Rosie O'Donnell and his longtime partner.

Plaintiff Regina Cicchetti said she was "devastated" by the ruling. But the Port Jervis resident said she and her partner of 36 years, Susan Zimmer, would fight on, probably by lobbying the Legislature for a change in the law.

"We haven't given up," she said. "We're in this for the long haul. If we can't get it done for us, we'll get it done for the people behind us."

In a dissent, Chief Judge Judith Kaye said the court failed to uphold its responsibility to correct inequalities when it decided to simply leave the issue to lawmakers.

"It is uniquely the function of the Judicial Branch to safeguard individual liberties guaranteed by the New York State Constitution, and to order redress for their violation," she wrote. "The court's duty to protect constitutional rights is an imperative of the separation of powers, not its enemy. I am confident that future generations will look back on today's decision as an unfortunate misstep."

High courts in Washington state and New Jersey are also deliberating cases in which same-sex couples argue they have the right to marry, and a handful of other states have cases moving through lower courts.

bigandtallreturn 37M

7/6/2006 1:30 pm

Rome wasn't built in a day. Interracial marriage wasn't allowed in America for a long time, either. I support gays' right to marry, but it's not gonna happen overnight. It's gonna take time, and conviction, one state after another.

It'll be when the next wave of senators and House representives, ones who don't have the "gay is wrong" mentality many of the old-school politicans like Pataki and Perdue do ,come into power when things will truly start to change.

"Today may be the first day of the rest of your life, unless you live on the other side of the International Date Line, then yesterday was the first day of the rest of your life."- Larry Andersen

redmustang91 57M  
8571 posts
7/6/2006 4:49 pm

I agree and civil rights were never won easily. The younger college kids are not so uptight about gays or bisexuality.

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