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Saturday, June 22, 2024 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

County Agencies Must Recognize Gay Marriage

(CN) - An appellate division of the New York Supreme Court upheld an executive order directing all Westchester County departments and agencies to recognize same-sex marriages in the same way they recognize heterosexual marriages.

On June 6, 2006, the Westchester County executive issued an order requiring all departments, boards, agencies and commissions of Westchester County, N.Y., "to recognize same-sex marriages lawfully entered into outside the state of New York in the same manner as they currently recognize opposite-sex marriages for the purposes of extending and administering all rights and benefits belonging to these couples, to the maximum extent allowed by law."

A group of individuals challenged the order, claiming it violates state and federal Constitutions, and tries to illegally legislate in the arenas of marriage and domestic relations.

The New York Supreme Court upheld the law as a valid exercise of the county executive's power, and the 2nd Appellate Division of the Supreme Court agreed.

"Since it is within the authority of the County Executive 'to see that the laws of the state, pertaining to the affairs and government of the county ... are executed and enforced within the county,'" Justice Spolzino wrote, "the executive order is not illegal."

Justices Lifson, Dickerson and Chambers concurred.

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