-  This bill is not active in this session.
 

A08354 Summary:

BILL NO    A08354 

SAME AS    No same as 

SPONSOR    O'Donnell (MS)

COSPNSR    Gottfried, Glick, Titone, Kellner, Bronson, Rivera J, Silver,
           Farrell, Sayward, Lentol, Nolan, Weisenberg, Arroyo, Brennan,
           Dinowitz, Lifton, Millman, Cahill, Paulin, Reilly, Jeffries, Jaffee,
           Rosenthal, Kavanagh, DenDekker, Schimel, Hevesi, Benedetto,
           Schroeder, Miller J, Lavine, Lancman, Linares, Moya, Roberts,
           Simotas, Abinanti, Braunstein

MLTSPNSR   Aubry, Boyland, Brook-Krasny, Canestrari, Cook, Duprey, Englebright,
           Galef, Latimer, Lopez V, Lupardo, Magnarelli, McEneny, Morelle,
           Ortiz, Pretlow, Ramos, Rivera N, Rivera P, Rodriguez, Russell,
           Sweeney, Thiele, Titus, Weinstein, Weprin, Wright, Zebrowski

Add SS10-a & 10-b, amd SS13 & 11, Dom Rel L

Enacts the Marriage Equality Act relating to ability of individuals to marry.
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A08354 Actions:

BILL NO    A08354 

06/14/2011 referred to judiciary
06/15/2011 reported referred to rules
06/15/2011 reported 
06/15/2011 rules report cal.320
06/15/2011 ordered to third reading rules cal.320
06/15/2011 message of necessity - 3 day message
06/15/2011 passed assembly
06/15/2011 delivered to senate
06/24/2011 ORDERED TO THIRD READING CAL.1545
06/24/2011 MESSAGE OF NECESSITY
06/24/2011 PASSED SENATE
06/24/2011 RETURNED TO ASSEMBLY
06/24/2011 delivered to governor
06/24/2011 signed chap.95
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A08354 Votes:

A08354 06/15/2011 80/63
AbbateNOCastellNOGalefYKatzNOMcKevitNORabbittNOStevensNO
AbinantYCastroYGanttNOKavanagYMcLaughNORaiaNOSweeneyY
AmedoreNOCerettoNOGibsonABKellnerYMengYRamosYTediscoNO
ArroyoYClarkNOGiglioNOKirwanNOMill D NOReilichNOTenneyNO
AubryYColtonNOGlickYKolbNOMill JMYReillyYThieleY
BarclayNOConteNOGoodellNOLancmanYMill MGNORive J YTitoneY
BarronNOCookYGottfriYLatimerYMillmanYRive N YTitusY
BenedetYCorwinNOGrafNOLavineYMolinarNORive PMYTobaccoNO
BingYCrespoNOGuntherYLentolYMontesaNORobertsYWeinsteY
BlankenNOCrouchNOHannaNOLiftonYMorelleYRobinsoNOWeisenbY
BoylandYCurranNOHawleyNOLinaresYMoyaYRodriguYWeprinY
BoyleNOCusickYHayesNOLope PDNOMurrayNORosenthYWrightY
BraunstYCymbrowNOHeastieYLope VJYNolanYRussellYZebrowsY
BrennanYDenDekkYHevesiYLosquadNOOaksNOSaladinNOMr SpkrY
BronsonYDinowitYHikindNOLupardoYO'DonneYSaywardY
Brook KYDupreyYHooperNOMageeNOOrtizYScarborAB
BurlingNOEnglebrYHoytYMagnareYPalmesaNOSchimelY
ButlerNOFarrellYJacobsYMaiselYPaulinYSchimmiNO
CahillYFinchNOJaffeeYMalliotNOPeoplesYSchroedY
CalhounNOFitzpatNOJeffrieYMarkeyABPerryYSimotasY
CamaraYFriendNOJohnsNOMcDonouNOPretlowYSmardzNO
CanestrYGabryszNOJordanNOMcEnenyYRaNOSpanoY

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A08354 Memo:

NEW YORK STATE ASSEMBLY
MEMORANDUM IN SUPPORT OF LEGISLATION
submitted in accordance with Assembly Rule III, Sec 1(f)
 
BILL NUMBER: A8354
 
SPONSOR: O'Donnell (MS)
  TITLE OF BILL: An act to amend the domestic relations law, in relation to the ability to marry   PURPOSE: The Marriage Equality Act amends the domestic relations law to grant same-sex couples the ability to enter into civil marriages in New York, while preserving the well-established constitutional and stat- utory principles that no member of the clergy may be compelled to perform any marriage ceremony. The Act also re-affirms that religious institutions and benevolent organizations cannot be required to partic- ipate in same-sex marriage ceremonies or celebrations.   SUMMARY OF PROVISIONS: Section 1 of this bill is the short title, "Marriage Equality Act." Section 2 of this bill would set forth legislative intent. Section 3 of this bill would add a new Section 10-a to the Domestic Relations Law (DRL) providing that: (1) a marriage that is otherwise valid shall be valid regardless of whether the parties to the marriage are of the same or different sex; (2) no government treatment or legal status, effect, right, benefit, privilege, protection or responsibility relating to marriage shall differ based on the parties to the marriage being or having been of the same sex rather than a different sex; and, (3) all relevant gender-specific language set forth in or referenced by New York law shall be construed in a gender-neutral manner. Section 3 of this bill would add a new Section 10-b to the DRL to re-af- firm that legalizing marriage for same-sex couples would not limit the protections and exemptions provided to benevolent organizations and religious institutions. Section 4 of the bill amends DRL § 13 to provide that no application for a marriage license shall be denied on the ground that the parties are of the same, or a different, sex. Section 5 of the bill amends DRL § 11(1) to make clear that no member of the clergy acting in such capacity may be required to perform any marriage. Section 6 of the bill sets forth the effective date.   EXISTING LAW: New York's Domestic Relations Law outlines the require- ments and criteria two people must satisfy to enter into a civil marriage in the state. Although the Domestic Relations Law contains no specific prohibition against, or allowance for, marriages between indi- viduals of the same sex, the New York Court of Appeals has held that the law limits marriage within New York State to different-sex couples. See Hernandez v. Robles, 7 N.Y.3d 338 (2005). In recognition of well-established common law, however, New York courts have also held that marriages between individuals of the same sex legal- ly performed in other jurisdictions are "entitled to recognition in New York in the absence of express legislation to the contrary." See Marti- nez v. City of Monroe, 50 A.D.3d 189 (4th Dep't 2008); see also, Godfrey v. Spano, 15 Misc. 3d 809 (Sup.Ct. Westchester County 2007) and Funder- burke v. N.Y. State Dep't of Civil Service, 49 A.D. 3d. 809 (2d Dep't 2008). Because civil marriage is a relationship sanctioned, licensed and recog- nized by the state, it does not require the blessing or involvement of any religious institution. The federal and state Constitutions, as well as the New York Human Rights Law, guarantee that religious institutions cannot be forced to marry individuals in violation of their religious beliefs or otherwise have their freedom of worship curtailed as the result of same-sex couples being allowed to legally marry in New York: N.Y. Exec. Law § 296(11). Furthermore, while the New York Human Rights Law makes it unlawful to discriminate on the basis of sexual orien- tation, it carves out exemptions for religious institutions and benevo- lent organizations. See N.Y. Exec. Law § 296 (11){1}, N.Y. Exec. Law § 292(2).{2}   STATEMENT IN SUPPORT: The "freedom to marry" is, in the words of the United States Supreme Court, "one of the vital personal rights essential to the orderly pursuit of happiness by free people." {3} In New York, however, certain couples who seek to exercise this personal right may not do so solely because they are of the same sex. The bar against same- sex couples entering into marriages exists regardless of whether they are committed to each other, whether they have lived together for six months or 30 years, whether they have joined their finances or purchased property together, or whether they have conceived or adopted children. Rather, same-sex couples are simply unable to marry in this State and therefore denied the equal freedom to enter into a state-created and legally secured bond of personal, social and economic significance. This bill removes the barriers in New York law that currently deprive indi- viduals of the equal right to marry the person of their choice. Civil marriage provides a comprehensive structure of state-sanctioned protections, benefits and mutual responsibilities for couples who are permitted to marry. In such areas as health care, hospital visitation, child custody, pension benefits, property ownership, inheritance, taxa- tion, insurance coverage, and testimonial privileges, married couples receive important safeguards against the loss or injury of a spouse, and crucial assurances against legal intrusion into their marital privacy. New York's more than 50,000 same-sex couples and their families confront many of the same life challenges as their different-sex counterparts, but are denied these basic protections. Further, couples who are denied the State's recognition are denoted, by force of law and policy, as not equal to couples in other comparable relationships. Couples who are excluded from marriage are told by the institutions of the State, in essence, that their solemn commitment to one another has no legal weight. Just as the right to marry confers important benefits on individuals, the institution of marriage produces incalculable benefits for society, by fostering stable familial relationships. Same-sex couples who wish to marry are not simply looking to obtain additional rights, they are seek- ing out substantial responsibilities as well: to undertake significant and binding obligations to one another, and to lives of "shared intimacy and mutual financial and emotional support."{4} Granting legal recogni- tion to these relationships can only strengthen New York's families, by extending the ability to participate in this crucial social institution to all New Yorkers. For more than two centuries, New York has stood at the forefront in advancing equal rights for all - from hosting the women's rights conven- tion at Seneca Falls, to breaking baseball's color barrier, to starting the modern "gay rights movement" in New York City four decades ago. New York legislators and other political leaders, of all parties, have played important roles in advancing civil rights protections for all New Yorkers, and in the extension of equal treatment to lesbians and gay men in particular. For example, in 1983, New York State banned discrimi- nation based on sexual orientation in state employment by Executive Order. In 2002, the state extended the same principle to the private sector by enacting the Sexual Orientation Non-Discrimination Act. That same year, the state, for the first time, legally recognized same-sex relationships by extending workers' compensation benefits to all those who lost a partner on 9/11. Despite these advances, the institution of civil marriage remains closed to loving same-sex couples. Passage of this bill would remedy this exclusionary policy, and represent yet another significant step in granting full and equal rights to all citizens of New York State. To ensure that the bill does not improperly intrude into matters of conscience or religious belief, the bill affirms that no member of the clergy can be compelled to solemnize any marriage. In short, this bill grants equal access to the government-created legal institution of civil marriage, while leaving the religious institution of marriage to its own separate, and fully autonomous, sphere. Beyond the freedom that clergy will retain over marriage decisions, the bill also ensures that the statutory protections for religious organiza- tions found in the New York Human Rights law remains intact, including, guaranteeing that religious institutions remain free to choose who may use their facilities and halls for marriage ceremonies and celebrations, to whom they rent their housing accommodations, or to whom they provide religious services, consistent with their religious principles. Further, the bill contains language to ensure that benevolent organizations, like the Knights of Columbus, remain exempt from New York prohibitions against discrimination in public accommodations, and are not be required to rent social halls to weddings of same-sex or other couples it chooses not to accommodate. N.Y. Exec. Law § 292(9).{5}   BUDGET IMPLICATIONS: The bill will require additional state expendi- tures for spousal benefits for those partners of state employees who are not eligible for such benefits under current law, and who are married under this legislation. Under current law, state expenditures for spous- al benefits for same-sex couples are permitted if a couple was legally married in a different state or if the couple is recognized by the State of New York as domestic partners. At the same time, however, allowing same-sex marriage would have numer- ous positive fiscal impacts. A 2007 report by the New York City Comp- troller detailed numerous sources of added revenue that would result from enacting marriage equality in New York State, including tax revenue from additional weddings, higher intake of marital licensing fees and reduction of means-tested benefit payments as a result of aggregated marital income. Moreover, any negative budgetary impact from added bene- fit payments will be limited, as many same-sex couples already enjoy such benefits through a variety of administrative schemes, or as a result of out-of-state marriages.   EFFECTIVE DATE: This bill takes effect on the thirtieth day after it shall become law. {1} N.Y. Exec. Law § 296(11) states: "Nothing contained in this section shall be construed to bar any religious or denominational institution or organization, or any organization operated for charitable or educational purposes, which is operated, supervised or controlled by or in connection with a religious organization, from limiting employment or sales or rental of housing accommodations or admission to or giving preference to persons of the same religion or denomination or from taking such action as is calculated by such organization to promote the religious principles for which it is established or maintained." {2} N.Y. Exec. Law § 292(9) states: "... a corporation incorporated under the benevolent orders law or described in the benevolent orders law but formed under any other law of this state or a religious corpo- ration incorporated under the education law or the religions corpo- rations law shall be deemed to be in its nature distinctly private." {3} Loving v. Virginia, 388 U.S. 1 (1967). {4} Hernandez v. Robles, 7 N.Y. 3d 338 (2005) (Kaye, C.J., dissenting). {5} New York Human Rights Law exempts from the public accommodations non-discrimination law a long list of organizations "incorporated under the benevolent orders law." N.Y. Exec. Law § 292(9). This list of exempt organizations expressly includes the Knights of Columbus, N.Y. Ben. Ord. Law § 2(12), as well as, for example, Masons organizations, id. at § 2(1)-(3), and the Catholic Daughters of America, id. at § 2(23).
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A08354 Text:



 
                STATE OF NEW YORK
        ________________________________________________________________________
 
                                          8354
 
                               2011-2012 Regular Sessions
 
                   IN ASSEMBLY
 
                                      June 14, 2011
                                       ___________
 
        Introduced  by  M.  of  A. O'DONNELL, GOTTFRIED, GLICK, TITONE, KELLNER,
          BRONSON, J. RIVERA, SILVER, FARRELL, SAYWARD, LENTOL,  NOLAN,  WEISEN-
          BERG,  ARROYO,  BRENNAN,  DINOWITZ,  HOYT,  LIFTON,  MILLMAN,  CAHILL,
          PAULIN, REILLY, BING, JEFFRIES, JAFFEE, ROSENTHAL, KAVANAGH,  DenDEKK-
          ER, SCHIMEL, HEVESI, BENEDETTO, SCHROEDER, J. MILLER, LAVINE, LANCMAN,

          LINARES,  MOYA,  ROBERTS, SIMOTAS, ABINANTI, BRAUNSTEIN -- Multi-Spon-
          sored by -- M. of A. AUBRY, BOYLAND, BROOK-KRASNY,  CANESTRARI,  COOK,
          DUPREY,  ENGLEBRIGHT, LATIMER, V. LOPEZ, LUPARDO, MAGNARELLI, McENENY,
          MORELLE,  ORTIZ,  PRETLOW,  RAMOS,  N. RIVERA,  P. RIVERA,  RODRIGUEZ,
          RUSSELL,  SWEENEY,  THIELE,  TITUS,  WEPRIN,  WRIGHT, ZEBROWSKI -- (at
          request of the Governor) -- read once and referred to the Committee on
          Judiciary
 
        AN ACT to amend the domestic relations law, in relation to  the  ability
          to marry
 
          The  People of the State of New York, represented in Senate and Assem-
        bly, do enact as follows:
 
     1    Section 1. This act shall be known and may be cited as  the  "Marriage
     2  Equality Act".
     3    § 2. Legislative intent. Marriage is a fundamental human right.  Same-

     4  sex  couples  should  have the same access as others to the protections,
     5  responsibilities, rights, obligations, and benefits of  civil  marriage.
     6  Stable  family  relationships  help  build  a  stronger society. For the
     7  welfare of the community and in fairness to all New  Yorkers,  this  act
     8  formally  recognizes otherwise-valid marriages without regard to whether
     9  the parties are of the same or different sex.
    10    It is the intent of the legislature that the marriages of same-sex and
    11  different-sex couples be treated equally in all respects under the  law.
    12  The  omission  from this act of changes to other provisions of law shall
    13  not  be  construed  as  a  legislative  intent  to  preserve  any  legal
    14  distinction  between  same-sex  couples  and  different-sex couples with
    15  respect to marriage. The legislature intends that all provisions of  law
 

         EXPLANATION--Matter in italics (underscored) is new; matter in brackets
                              [ ] is old law to be omitted.
                                                                   LBD12066-04-1

        A. 8354                             2
 
     1  which  utilize  gender-specific  terms  in reference to the parties to a
     2  marriage, or which in any other way may be inconsistent with  this  act,
     3  be  construed  in  a  gender-neutral  manner  or in any way necessary to
     4  effectuate the intent of this act.
     5    §  3. The domestic relations law is amended by adding two new sections
     6  10-a and 10-b to read as follows:
     7    § 10-a.  Parties to a marriage.  1. A marriage that is otherwise valid
     8  shall be valid regardless of whether the parties to the marriage are  of
     9  the same or different sex.

    10    2.  No  government  treatment or legal status, effect, right, benefit,
    11  privilege, protection or responsibility relating  to  marriage,  whether
    12  deriving  from  statute,  administrative  or  court rule, public policy,
    13  common law or any other source of law, shall differ based on the parties
    14  to the marriage being or having been of  the  same  sex  rather  than  a
    15  different  sex.  When necessary to implement the rights and responsibil-
    16  ities of spouses under the law, all gender-specific  language  or  terms
    17  shall  be  construed  in  a gender-neutral manner in all such sources of
    18  law.
    19    § 10-b. Application. 1. Notwithstanding any other  provision  of  law,
    20  pursuant  to  subdivision  nine of section two hundred ninety-two of the

    21  executive law, a corporation incorporated under  the  benevolent  orders
    22  law or described in the benevolent orders law but formed under any other
    23  law  of  this  state  or  a religious corporation incorporated under the
    24  education law or the religious corporations laws shall be deemed  to  be
    25  in its nature distinctly private and therefore, shall not be required to
    26  provide  accommodations, advantages, facilities or privileges related to
    27  the solemnization or celebration of a marriage.
    28    2. A refusal by a benevolent organization or a religious  corporation,
    29  incorporated  under the education law or the religious corporations law,
    30  to provide  accommodations,  advantages,  facilities  or  privileges  in

    31  connection  with  section ten-a of this article shall not create a civil
    32  claim or cause of action.
    33    3. Pursuant to subdivision eleven of section two hundred ninety-six of
    34  the executive law, nothing in this article shall be deemed or  construed
    35  to prohibit any religious or denominational institution or organization,
    36  or  any  organization  operated  for charitable or educational purposes,
    37  which is operated, supervised or controlled by or in connection  with  a
    38  religious  organization  from  limiting employment or sales or rental of
    39  housing accommodations or admission to or giving preference  to  persons
    40  of  the  same  religion or denomination or from taking such action as is
    41  calculated by such organization to promote the religious principles  for

    42  which it is established or maintained.
    43    §  4.  Section 13 of the domestic relations law, as amended by chapter
    44  720 of the laws of 1957, is amended to read as follows:
    45    § 13.   Marriage licenses.   It shall be  necessary  for  all  persons
    46  intended  to  be  married in New York state to obtain a marriage license
    47  from a town or city clerk in New York state and to deliver said license,
    48  within sixty days, to the clergyman or magistrate who  is  to  officiate
    49  before  the  marriage  ceremony may be performed.  In case of a marriage
    50  contracted pursuant to subdivision four of section eleven of this  chap-
    51  ter, such license shall be delivered to the judge of the court of record
    52  before  whom  the acknowledgment is to be taken.  If either party to the
    53  marriage resides upon an island located not less than twenty-five  miles

    54  from the office or residence of the town clerk of the town of which such
    55  island  is a part, and if such office or residence is not on such island
    56  such license may be obtained from any justice of the peace  residing  on

        A. 8354                             3
 
     1  such  island, and such justice, in respect to powers and duties relating
     2  to marriage licenses, shall be subject to the provisions of this article
     3  governing town clerks  and  shall  file  all  statements  or  affidavits
     4  received  by  him while acting under the provisions of this section with
     5  the town clerk of such town. No application for a marriage license shall
     6  be denied on the ground that the parties are of the same, or  a  differ-
     7  ent, sex.
     8    §  5.  Subdivision  1  of section 11 of the domestic relations law, as

     9  amended by chapter 319 of the laws of 1959, is amended and a new  subdi-
    10  vision 1-a is added to read as follows:
    11    1.  A  clergyman or minister of any religion, or by the senior leader,
    12  or any of the other leaders, of The Society for Ethical Culture  in  the
    13  city  of New York, having its principal office in the borough of Manhat-
    14  tan, or by the leader of  The  Brooklyn  Society  for  Ethical  Culture,
    15  having  its  principal  office in the borough of Brooklyn of the city of
    16  New York, or of the Westchester Ethical Society,  having  its  principal
    17  office  in Westchester county, or of the Ethical Culture Society of Long
    18  Island, having its principal office in Nassau county, or of  the  River-
    19  dale-Yonkers  Ethical Society having its principal office in Bronx coun-
    20  ty, or by the leader of any other  Ethical  Culture  Society  affiliated

    21  with  the American Ethical Union; provided that no clergyman or minister
    22  as defined in section two of the religious corporations law, or  Society
    23  for  Ethical  Culture leader shall be required to solemnize any marriage
    24  when acting in his or her capacity under this subdivision.
    25    1-a. A refusal by a clergyman or minister as defined in section two of
    26  the religious corporations law, or Society for Ethical Culture leader to
    27  solemnize any marriage under this subdivision shall not create  a  civil
    28  claim or cause of action.
    29    §  6.  This  act shall take effect on the thirtieth day after it shall
    30  have become a law.
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