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Lambda Legal Urges New York Senate to Vote Yes on Marriage Equality

(NEW YORK)- As the New York legislature is expected to return to Albany for a special session, Lambda Legal has urged Senators to finish up the business left undone in the summer and pass a marriage equality bill to guarantee the legal rights and responsibilities of marriage for same-sex couples and their families in New York.

Said Susan Sommer, Director of Constitutional Litigation at Lambda Legal, "Lambda Legal has defended the state’s recognition of out-of-state marriages over and over, but no matter how many times we defend families in court or how consistently the state upholds recognition of out-of-state marriages, same-sex couples in New York are still vulnerable to discrimination until they can marry in their home state. We call on our leaders to pass the marriage equality bill and put an end to attacks on New York’s same-sex couples and their families.

"New York is now bordered by four jurisdictions that provide marriage equality for same-sex couples: Massachusetts, Connecticut, Vermont, and Canada—which calls the question, ''Why are same-sex couples in New York forced to leave their home state to obtain protection for their relationships?' The door to equality is open and we know that New York is ready to walk through."

Susan Sommer, as Senior Counsel, recently argued before the New York Court of Appeals (the state’s highest court) the Godfrey v. Spano and Lewis v. New York State Department of Civil Service, et al., cases about respecting the out-of-state marriages of same-sex couples. Lambda Legal intervened on behalf of two married same-sex couples after the Alliance Defense Fund, an antigay legal group, objected to county and state officials acting in compliance with long-standing New York law by recognizing out-of-state marriages of same-sex couples.