A court ruled this week that Governor David Paterson had every right to demand that state agencies begin acknowledging gay marriages that were performed legally outside New York.
The decision, handed down by Judge Lucy Billings of the Bronx, quashed an injunction filed by the Alliance Defense Fund, a Christian conservative group and, most notably for Brooklynites, Bay Ridge State Senator Marty Golden.
In recently released court papers, Billings found Paterson’s directive to accept legal lesbian, gay, bi-sexual and transgender (LGBT) marriages as if they were heterosexual marriages was “an incremental but important step toward equality long denied.”
“The governor’s directive is another permissible, if not mandated, step,” she wrote, adding that the state legislature could easily torpedo Paterson’s plan if they passed a law stopping New York from acknowledging same-sex marriages. So far, the legislature had not taken any steps to do so.
Golden is the only State Senator from the city who signed onto the injunction.
Calls to his office for comment were not returned as this paper went to press.
In previous interviews Golden said that he was against Paterson’s decree not because he’s opposed to gay marriage, but because the Governor “preempted the state legislature.”
“We had a guy who did that before – Eliot Spitzer,” Golden said. “We did not like the way he governed and just wanted to make sure that Paterson doesn’t pick up any of [Spitzer’s] bad habits.”
“You can’t rule by fiat and take the vote away from the people,” he said.
Members of the borough’s LGBT community hailed Judge Billings’ ruling, calling it “a great day for New York.”
“This decision is another step on the road to having same-sex marriages recognized in New York,” said Alan Fleishman, the male Democratic district leader for the 52nd Assembly District in Park Slope. “The backward people outside of New York State who brought this suit, as well as their allies in this state are once again proven wrong by the courts.”
“Progress moves forward,” Fleishman said.
Attorneys for the Alliance Defense Fund said that they were going to appeal Judge Billings’ decision.