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NY high court sidesteps central issue in cases that challenged same-sex ‘marriage’ recognition

ADF attorneys represented taxpayers

ALBANY, N.Y. — New York’s highest court did not address the central issue in a ruling Thursday on two lawsuits that challenged the state’s attempt to recognize out-of-state same-sex “marriages” by state and county officials, say attorneys with the Alliance Defense Fund who brought the suits.

“State and local officials should not use marriage laws from outside jurisdictions to subvert the legislature,” said ADF Senior Counsel Brian W. Raum. “We are disappointed that the court did not address the real issue in this case: whether New York law requires the recognition of same-sex ‘marriages’ from jurisdictions outside the state. In New York, the only relationship recognized as marriage is the committed union of a man and a woman.”

The New York Court of Appeals, the state’s highest court, upheld the dismissal of claims in the two lawsuits, which Raum argued before the New York Court of Appeals on Oct. 13.

“It is clear in the court records that New York tax dollars have been spent on foreign same-sex ‘marriages,’” explained Raum. “ADF will continue to defend marriage in the state of New York.”

ADF attorneys argued in Lewis v. New York State Department of Civil Service that the department illegally redefined the term “spouse” in order to extend marriage benefits to members of the same sex who obtained marriage licenses from other states, countries, or jurisdictions. On behalf of New York taxpayers, ADF attorneys filed the suit in May 2007, contending that the directive illegally subverts the authority of the legislature and replaces state law with laws from foreign jurisdictions at the expense of taxpayers and families who have not consented to it.

In Godfrey v. Spano, ADF attorneys argued that Westchester County Executive Andrew Spano exceeded his constitutional authority when he ordered county agencies to recognize out-of-state same-sex “marriages.”

ADF-allied attorney Jim Trainor served as local counsel in the Lewis v. New York State Department of Civil Service suit.

ADF is a legal alliance of Christian attorneys and like-minded organizations defending the right of people to freely live out their faith. Launched in 1994, ADF employs a unique combination of strategy, training, funding, and litigation to protect and preserve religious liberty, the sanctity of life, marriage, and the family.