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MarriageNew York Courts Continue Trend: Same Sex Marriage Recognized

April 2, 2008

A second appellate court went out of its way to implicitly recognize the legitimacy of same sex marriage in New York.

I previously discussed the case of Funderburke v. State of New York in which the claim of an employee of the Uniondale school district who sought health benefits for his same-sex partner was dismissed. The basis of the dismissal was that New York, at the time, did not recognize same sex marriage. The parties were validly married in Canada.

Since that time, as I have posted, New York courts began to recognize the validity of same sex marriages. In addition, the state has changed its position “regarding recognition of foreign same-sex marriages. The DCS now requires public employers within its jurisdiction to provide full spousal benefits to same-sex couples validly married in another jurisdiction, and requires all members of its health insurance program, including the District, to provide such benefits.”

Since there was no longer a dispute as to the validity of the marriage or the same sex partner’s right to health benefits, the appeal was moot. Nevertheless, the Appellate Division vacated the lower court’s order so as it prevent it “from spawning any legal consequences or precedent.”

In doing so, the Appellate Court, went out of its way to remove any obstacles to the continued recognition of same sex marriages in New York. Thus far, two of the four Appellate Divisions have recognized same sex marriage

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