York Judge Holds Marriage Law Unconstitutional Despite Three Previous State
Court Opinions Upholding the Laws
York, New York – Today, New York state court Judge Doris Ling-Cohan
issued a decision declaring New York’s marriage laws unconstitutional.
Judge Cohan’s decision came after three state court judges in New
York recently upheld New York’s marriage laws as constitutional.
Mathew D. Staver, President and General Counsel of Liberty Counsel, and
Rena M. Lindevaldsen, Senior Litigation Counsel for Liberty Counsel, represented
New York State Senators Diaz and Meier, State Assemblyman Hooker, the New
York Family Policy Council and Conservative Party Chairman Mike Long in
filing an amicus brief in the New York City case and will represent the
same parties in an amicus brief on appeal. Liberty Counsel is a nonprofit
litigation, education and policy organization dedicated to advancing religious
liberties, the sanctity of human life, and the traditional family.
the past four months, three judges, two in Albany and one in Rockland County,
refused to declare the New York marriage laws unconstitutional. Those decisions
squarely rejected claims by same-sex couples that marriage laws limiting
marriage to the union of a man and a woman violate the couples’ due
process or equal protection rights. As recently as yesterday, a New York
state court in Albany upheld the marriage laws. In contrast, today Judge
Cohan found the same laws unconstitutional under the New York constitution.
Judge Cohan invented a “fundamental right to choose one spouse,”
wrote that same-sex marriage “would cause harm to no one,”
that there is “no legitimate purpose, let alone a compelling interest”
in the marriage laws, and ordered that “husband,” “wife,”
“groom” and “bride” should now be construed as
“spouse.” Judge Cohan said that such remedy was legislating
from the bench. The decision has been stayed for 30 days to allow the city
to determine whether it would appeal. A city attorney told the press today
that the city was “still considering its options.” Liberty
Counsel initially sought to intervene to obtain full party status to defend
this case by arguing that neither the city nor the state attorneys were
dedicated to aggressively defend this case. Judge Cohan denied intervention
but granted Liberty Counsel the right to file an amicus brief.
Staver commented, “We are disappointed in today’s decision.
Three other Supreme Court judges in New York have independently reviewed
the laws and concluded, as they should, that the marriage laws are constitutional.
The State has an obvious interest in preserving traditional marriage and
in promoting the best family arrangement – one with a mom and a dad
– for our children and society. Today’s decision demonstrates
the need for marriage amendments at the state and federal level. All it
takes is one judge to throw the State’s marriage laws into upheaval.
Judges should not be able to pull same-sex marriage out of a hat and force
it on the American people. Marriage is a fundamental basis of our society
and we must do all that it takes to stabilize and preserve it. The people
must have a voice in this most important social issue.”
the Opinion in this case (in PDF format - to open, download free Adobe