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Marriage Equality in New York State

Same Sex MarriageWith the British House of Commons and French National Assembly recently passing a bill allowing for same-sex marriage, as a Long Island, NY family law attorney, I thought it would be a good time to discuss the New York State Marriage Equality Act of 2011.

The New York Marriage Equality Act of 2011 allows for gender-neutral marriages for both same-sex and opposite- sex couples. While essentially legalizing gay marriage, the Marriage Equality Act also protects religious-supervised institutions, their employees, or clergy from legal action for refusing to sanctify or recognize marriages that contradict the beliefs of their own religious doctrines. In other words, a religious institution, like a Catholic Church, etc. is not required to marry a same-sex couple just because the State of New York allows it.

Essentially, if you are a same-sex couple who wishes to be married, you can be married under the eyes of the law in New York State. Religious institutions, however, are legally protected from recognizing or sanctifying the marriage.  After the bill passed, a Marist poll showed that 63 percent of people didn’t want the law overturned.

If you are a same sex couple who wishes to be married on Long Island, you can submit an application in person for your license at any town or city clerk outside of New York City. The application for a license has to be signed by both applicants in the presence of the clerk. New York City has different requirements than Long Island so the couple has to go to the New York City clerk and follow their procedures. As for opposite-sex couples, once a same-sex couple obtains the license, the couple has to wait 24 hours to get married.

Since the law was passed, multiple lawsuits have been filed attempting to negate the same-sex marriages the law has allowed, but thus far, all have been dismissed.  In fact, the highest Court in New York State, the Court of Appeals, has denied hearing any cases.

Contact Us for More Information

If you have any questions regarding New York State Marriage Equality Act of 2011 or any other Family Law or Divorce matters on Long Island, give us a call at 631-923-1910. The divorce law office of Robert E. Hornberger, P.C. will be pleased to offer you a free complimentary consultation to discuss your Family Law issues or concerns.