Gottfried Welcomes Spitzer Support for Same-Sex Marriages

March 3, 2004

The following is a statement by Assembly Member Richard N. Gottfried, sponsor of the Assembly bill to recognize same-sex marriage in New York, in response to Attorney General Eliot Spitzer's statement today on same-sex marriage:

I am delighted that Attorney General Spitzer has reaffirmed his strong support for legislation to clearly allow same-sex marriage in New York.

He also made it clear that out-of-state same-sex marriages must be recognized as legal marriages in New York. These families will now be entitled to file joint tax returns, visit one another in the hospital, and do a million other things that married couples can do. (If out-of-state same-sex marriages are recognized but in-state marriages are not, that would be similar to the law on divorce forty years ago in New York. Many people could not get a legal divorce in New York, but they could go to Nevada and come back legally divorced.)

While I regret that he believes the current statute does not authorize the issuance of a same-sex marriage license in New York, I am encouraged that he states that the current law "raises important constitutional questions involving the equal protection of the laws."

This is a glass that is at least three-quarters full, which is great news for those of us who believe in the humanity of same-sex couples.

Attorney General Spitzer's thoughtful statement helps strengthen the case for the Gottfried-Duane Right to Marry bill (A.7392, S.3816).

Stable family relationships help build a stronger society. For the welfare of the community and fairness to all New Yorkers, same-sex couples should have the same right as others to the legal and social protections, responsibilities and benefits of civil marriage.