Contact:  Andrew Rush
Director, Media Services & Public Affairs
arush@nysba.org
518/487-5530

June 5, 2008

STATEMENT FROM NEW YORK STATE BAR ASSOCIATION PRESIDENT BERNICE K. LEBER ON GOVERNOR PATERSON'S DIRECTIVE ON SAME-SEX MARRIAGE

In response to Governor Paterson's directive that orders state agencies to honor same-sex marriages performed in other states, New York State Bar Association President Bernice K. Leber (Arent Fox LLP) issued the following statement.

"Equal legal rights for same-sex couples have long been a priority for the New York State Bar Association.   We applaud Governor Paterson for his progressive and courageous directive.  We now urge the Legislature and the Governor to take the appropriate steps to enact long overdue legislation this session that would address all the legal inequities suffered by same-sex couples in New York."

In 2005, the State Bar Association - based on a report issued by its Special Committee to Review Issues Affecting Same-Sex Couples - adopted a resolution calling for legislation that would provide same-sex couples with the same comprehensive set of rights and responsibilities that are available to opposite sex couples including domestic partnerships, civil unions, or an amendment to the statutory definition of marriage.