(CN) – A group of New York taxpayers lost a pair of challenges to the recognition of out-of-state same-sex marriages by their county and state governments.
Margaret Godfrey and two other taxpayers sued to stop Westchester Count, N.Y. from providing health benefits to same-sex partners of public employees who got married in Canada, Vermont, Massachusetts and Iowa.
Justice Eugene Pigott of the New York Court of Appeals affirmed the trial court dismissal of the lawsuit, which ruled that the county executive’s order to allow the benefits is “a valid exercise of the County Executive’s power, not an illegal act, and does not violate the State Constitution or the Municipal Home Rule Law.”
In a related case, Kenneth and Denise Lewis and Robert and Elaine Houck mounted a similar challenge to the New York State Department of Civil Service’s recognition of same-sex marriages.
The trial court and court of appeals ruled against them, and Piggott affirmed.
“Because (the Godfrey) plaintiffs allege no fraud, their action succeeds only if they state a claim for illegal dissipation of municipal funds,” Pigott wrote. “Plaintiffs fail to specify a circumstance where taxpayer funds were expended as a result of the Executive Order that would not have been expended in the absence of the order.”