October 23, 2012
By Jacob Combs
New York’s Court of Appeals, the state’s top court, today announced its refusal to hear a case challenging the state’s marriage equality law, which was passed by the legislature last summer. From the New York Daily News:
New York’s top court today refused to hear an appeal challenging the state’s gay marriage law.
Without explanation, the Court of Appeals denied a request to appeal by New Yorkers for Constitutional Freedoms, an evangelical group.
“With the Court’s decision, same-sex couples no longer have to worry that their right to marry could be legally challenged in this State,” Gov. Cuomo, who pushed for passage of the law last year, said in a statement. “The freedom to marry in this State is secure for generations to come.”
New Yorkers for Constitutional Freedoms had claimed the state Senate failed to follow proper procedure when it gave final passage last year to a bill allow same-sex couples to wed. Gov. Cuomo signed the bill into law.
The group argued that the Senate Republican majority violated the state open meetings law by meeting behind closed doors, including with Mayor Bloomberg, to discuss the issue.
A state appellate court in July unanimously reversed a lower court ruling and dismissed the case. Because the decision was unanimous, New Yorkers For Constitutional Freedoms needed permission from the state’s top court to continue its appeal, a request that was denied today.
The high court’s decision is the final word on a state judicial challenge to the law. Jason McGuire, the executive director of New Yorkers For Constitutional Freedoms, an evangelical group that spearheaded the lawsuit, said the group would now turn its attention to a complaint filed with the state’s Division of Human Rights by a lesbian couple who were told they couldn’t wed at the Liberty Ridge Farm near Albany because the site’s owners, Robert and Cynthia Gifford, object to marriage equality based on their religious beliefs.
Despite the fact that opponents of equal marriage rights in New York continue to attack New York’s marriage law in every way they can, today’s decision by the Court of Appeals is a victory that demonstrates just how desperate those efforts have been.