NY--New York State Bar Association President David P. Miranda today applauded
the U.S. Supreme Court for striking down state laws that prohibit same-sex couples
a 5-4 ruling, the court held that states cannot ban same-sex marriages and they
must recognize same–sex marriages performed in other states.
are pleased the court found that only marriage can grant full equality to
same-sex couples and their families,” said Miranda.
New York State Bar Association issued a landmark report in
2009 calling for the extension of full marriage rights to same-sex couples as
the only legal and pragmatic way to ensure equality. The report noted that
same-sex couples who traveled to other states to wed found “a tangle of
inconsistent rulings falling far short of the legal stability and equality with
marriage” the couples had expected.
decision protects same-sex couples married in New York by requiring every state
to legally recognize their marital status—when they travel or relocate to
another state. It also extends to all gays and lesbians the right to
marry in their home states—something New Yorkers have been able to do since
2011,” said Miranda. “Today is a great day for equal justice.”
April 28, the Supreme Court heard oral arguments in same-sex marriage cases
from four states—Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio and Tennessee. Parties were asked to
address two questions: whether states must allow same-sex couples to marry, and
whether states must recognize same-sex marriages performed elsewhere.
On March 5, the New York State Bar
Association joined 30 organizations nationwide in filing an amicus curiae
(friend of the court) brief to the Supreme Court. The brief argued the marriage
bans in the four states set people apart and discriminate against gay men,
lesbians and their families.
The brief noted the historical extension of
constitutional rights and protections in this country.
"The Marriage Bans create a separate
and unequal regime for a disfavored class. Continuing to exclude, demean, and
stigmatize gay and lesbian individuals and families is inconsistent with that
constitutional tradition," it concluded. Link to brief: www.nysba.org/samesexamicus15.
The brief also argued:
bans “exclude a class of people—gay men and lesbians—from the venerated
institution of marriage.”
Bans set people apart and create situations in which “gay men, lesbians, and
their families are deprived of critical benefits enjoyed by their heterosexual
neighbors, are subjected to debilitating stigma, and are exposed to increased
discrimination on the basis of their sexual orientation.”
- “[T]hese bans lack any
legitimate justification; they have been enacted ‘for the purpose of
disadvantaging the group burdened by the law’…. They ‘classif[y]
homosexuals not to further proper legislative end but to make them unequal
to everyone else.’”
New York State Bar Association has been a leader in advocating marriage
equality. Its 2009 report identified
a comprehensive list of rights and responsibilities that were not available to
same-sex couples and called on the state Legislature to legalize same-sex
marriage. It actively promoted enactment of the 2011 law that permits same-sex
marriages in New York.
Association also joined amicus curiae briefs in Windsor v. U.S.
and Hollingsworth v. Perry, which were decided by the Supreme Court in
74,000-member New York State Bar Association is the largest voluntary state bar
association in the nation. It was founded in 1876.