Recognition of marriages across political boundaries is a long standing, virtually global tradition .,.. perhaps one of the earliest non-refugee related mundane global practices … to cross borders to get married. The distinction between ceremony and recognition is well established. This does not always mean that marriages are so recognized, but more often than not, they are.Why are we talking about this? I’m expanding on a discussion happening here regarding the recognition of marriages (in particular gay marriage), celebrated elsewhere, by New York State.
Shortly after the wedding, Martinez applied to her employer, Monroe Community College (MCC), for spousal health benefits for Golden, a benefit clearly provided to opposite-sex spouses. MCC refused to extend benefits to Golden, and Martinez sued. However, the trial court dismissed the case, ruling that since the marriage was not valid in New York, Golden was not a “spouse” and thus was not entitled to any of the benefits accorded other, legal spouses.On appeal, Martinez made two claims. First, she argued that Golden is her legal spouse under New York law. Second, she argued that MCC’s denial of spousal benefits, which were automatically granted to opposite-sex spouses, constituted unlawful sexual orientation discrimination under New York law. She prevailed on both arguments.
Elsewhere in the court system, the Hernandez decision, an excellent example of conservative judges legislating from the bench, determined that “same-sex marriages cannot be legally celebrated in New York.” (ibid)According to Joanna Grossman’s piece on Findlaw:
What is the relevance of Hernandez to the question presented in Martinez? Absolutely none. The question whether a marriage can be legally celebrated in a jurisdiction is entirely distinct from the question whether the marriage should be given effect in the state….New York’s highest court has recognized … a common-law marriage even though the New York legislature had abolished common-law marriage by statute, a marriage between an uncle and a niece of the half blood, an underage marriage, and a “proxy marriage” (where only one party shows up to the ceremony), even though New York would not itself have permitted any of these marriages in the first instance.What set of rules led courts to give effect to the marriages at issue in these cases?The first rule of marriage recognition is the “place of celebration” rule – the idea that a marriage is valid everywhere if valid where celebrated. Most states apply some version of this rule to marriage recognition cases….
Currently, Gay Marriage is not allowed to happen in New York because the courts, not the legislature, has said so. It is possible for the legislature to specifically outlaw recognition of gay marriages, but until that is done it is unlikely that any reasonable (likely higher) court decision would follow that route.The Martinez decision was addressed most recently in May:
New York’s highest court handed same-sex marriage advocates a victory on Tuesday by refusing to hear an appeal on an appellate court’s groundbreaking ruling that recognized a same-sex couple’s Canadian marriage.By letting the earlier ruling stand, valid out-of-state same-sex marriages are recognized by the state of New York. Currently in the United States only Massachusetts offers same-sex couples the legal right to marry.The case, Martinez v. County of Monroe, was decided in February by an appellate court which unanimously affirmed the lesbian couple’s Canadian marriage. The New York Civil Liberties Union (NYCLU) brought forth the case on behalf of Patricia Martinez, a word processing supervisor for Monroe Community College in Rochester since 1984.source