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05/29/2008

Cook? Archuletta? pssch! David Paterson is our idol!

by Jeremy Hooper

Picture 3-120First we gay New Yorkers got that fantastic Appellate Court ruling saying that our legal out-of-state marriages must be legally recognized in the state. Now Gov. David Paterson has taken that a step further, issuing a directive that all state agencies must revise their policies and regulations by June 30 so that they fully recognize same-sex marriages performed in other jurisdictions:

New York to Back Same-Sex Unions From Elsewhere [NY Times]

So basically we New Yorkers can plan them, buy our fashions for them, and have them recognized here at home. We just have to step over the boundary to Ottawa in order to actually hold our wedding ceremonies. It's just silly! It's sort of like cooking up an amazing seven course feast, but forcing your dinner guests to go to the neighbors to obtain their forks.

Of course there are still far too many gays who can't dine on the fairness no matter to what lengths they go, so we recognize that those who call the Empire State home have it better than others. However, we can't and won't stop pushing the state until destination weddings are an option, not a requirement!

**UPDATE: Here's a video of today's press conference

**UPDATE2: The Empire State Pride Agenda's Alan Van Capelle has issued a statement in reaction to this development:

“Because of Governor David Paterson’s leadership and commitment to equality and
justice for all New Yorkers, same-sex couples and our families are now even
closer to being recognized as equals under the law when it comes to the rights
and protections of marriage.

By directing state agencies to recognize marriages of same-sex couples that are
legally performed out of state as fully valid in New York, Governor Paterson is
simply following the law. He has done what a majority of New Yorkers support
and made a powerful statement to those who would stand in the way of our
equality. We thank him for doing everything in his power as Governor to see to
it that gay and lesbian New Yorkers are no longer treated as second class
citizens in our own state.

New York was once the leader in advancing civil rights in America, but in
recent years our state has lagged behind as others have gone further in
providing equality for LGBT citizens. It’s only been two months since David
Paterson became Governor and already New York is returning to its place as a
beacon of hope and justice.

Despite this great news, our families are still not fully equal in the eyes of
the law. We strongly believe that LGBT New Yorkers should not have to leave
their home state to get a valid marriage license. It is now time for the New
York State Senate to do what the Assembly has already done and that is to pass
the marriage equality bill, which Governor Paterson has already promised to
sign into law."

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Your thoughts

I know it seems perverse to have to 'get married' somewhere else, but once you do it will be recognized in New York. Just goes to show what a farce DOMA is, and that will become more and more clear.
However there can be a method or at least good reasons for the MADNESS: here is what one couple plan.
What I'm thinking
I live in Virginia. I AM doing the big wedding with family and friends - overlooking the nation's capitol. For the honeymoon it is off to California to make it legal. In the mean time I am donating what I can to the to the LA Gay and Lesbian Center in hopes that we can still get married by the time we go in winter '09. I don't see why fighting to keep marriage legal and wedding tourism contradict each other.
So what's the point? Several: 
1. Rewarding California financially for their tolerance can only help the cause. 
2. By bringing back legal marriages, it helps people fight for marriage in their home states - a great example is Washington DC and Maryland - just across the border from me. They are already teetering on the marriage issue- perhaps enough of us with CA marriages will be able to demand to have our marriages recognized - I would be willing to move the 5 - 15 miles across the border for that! 
3. It opens the dialog with accepting but uneducated straight people. When I tell straight people that I HAVE to go to California to make my marriage legal, they are actually surprised, they have all kinds of assumptions about rights we don't have, you would think they would know even here in backwards ole VA. 
4. We just want it. Ever since we got engaged about a year ago, well intentioned people have asked us the legal ramifications of our wedding, and we have to admit, "well, actually, none." I can't put it into words, but having an official legal document saying we are married means a lot to us, it is validating, even if only legal across the country.

Makes sense to me. Have the BIG BIG BIG party where your friends and family are.

Posted by: LOrion | May 29, 2008 10:55:21 AM

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