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One Man, No Vote: Paterson Forces NY To Recognize Out-Of-State Gay "Marriages"

by on May 28, 2008

The New York Times will report tomorrow that Governor David Paterson secretly “directed all state agencies to begin to revise their policies and regulations to recognize same-sex marriages performed in other jurisdictions, like Massachusetts, California and Canada,” circumventing the voters and the legislature.

In a directive issued on May 14, the governor’s legal counsel, David Nocenti, instructed the agencies that gay couples married elsewhere “should be afforded the same recognition as any other legally performed union.”

The revisions are most likely to involve as many as 1,300 statutes and regulations in New York governing everything from joint filing of income tax returns to transferring fishing licenses between spouses.

In a videotaped message given to gay community leaders at a dinner on May 17, Mr. Paterson described the move as “a strong step toward marriage equality.” And people on both sides of the issue said it moved the state closer to fully legalizing same-sex unions in this state.

“Very shortly, there will be hundreds and hundreds and hundreds, and probably thousands and thousands and thousands of gay people who have their marriages recognized by the state,” said Assemblyman Daniel O’Donnell, a Democrat who represents the Upper West Side and has pushed for legalization of gay unions.

Rep. Tom Reynolds made the following statement in response to Paterson’s secret directive:

“This is a terrible decision, directed in a secretive and abusive manner, designed to circumvent any sort of public hearing or comment from the New York people. The Governor should full well know the rightful role and prerogative the legislature has in the rule of law in this matter. Therefore, I am calling on the Governor to suspend this ill-advised executive directive. I intend to call the Catholic Conference, the New Yorkers for Constitutional Freedoms, legislative leaders and other interested parties to assist in looking at the options available in helping cease and desist the Governor’s directive.

Frankly, this is yet another example of a New York Governor abusing his power to disregard the legislature, the rule of law and most importantly the people of New York. Whether it is trying to issue drivers’ licenses to illegal immigrants or attempting to recognize gay marriages this pattern of circumventing the legislature and the will of the New York people is not only troubling but should not be recognized by the legislative or judicial branch or the public as a whole.”

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