Statement of New York State Senator
Thomas K. Duane on the California Supreme Court
Striking Down Ban on Civil Same-Sex Marriages

May 15, 2008

Today the California Supreme Court struck down the state's ban on same-sex marriage as unconstitutional. I applaud the Court for recognizing that equal protection under the law is a fundamental and human right. Shamefully, in 2006, the New York State Court of Appeals did not seem to understand the simple concept of embracing New York's own equal protection clause. Instead the high court cowardly passed the issue over to the State Legislature.

The California ruling brings the right of civil marriage for same-sex couples one step closer to reality for all United States citizens, including New Yorkers. It will take hard work, but New York's Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) community will be afforded the right to civil marriage. Civil marriage has already passed the State Assembly and it is only a matter of time before it passes the Senate.

New York's LGBT community is used to having to roll up our sleeves and fight for the basic rights others take for granted. Our opponents told use we would never enact comprehensive hate crime legislation. We did. They told us we would never pass the Sexual Orientation Non-Discrimination Act (SONDA). We did. It will be the same for same-sex civil marriage &ndash I guarantee it.

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