New York’s second highest court ruled Feb. 16 that same-sex couples have no right to a marriage license under existing state law, reported Jan LaRue, chief counsel for Concerned Women of America.
The decision in Samuels v. New York State Health Department said marriage is the foundation upon which the perpetuation of society and civilization rest and changes to the definition of marriage must be played out in the Legislature and not in the courts.
The court found that both Congress, by the enactment of the “Federal Defense of Marriage Act,” and “nearly all state legislatures that have addressed the issue have similarly maintained the traditional definition of marriage.”
The court rejected plaintiffs’ arguments that the New York Domestic Relations Law limits marriage licenses to opposite-sex couples and therefore “violates their due process, equal protection and free speech provisions of the New York Constitution.” The court concluded that the Due Process Clause does not require “a judicial redefinition of marriage.”
It concluded that children “will have better opportunities to be nurtured and raised by two parents” who are married and of opposite sex, and that the statute did not discriminate on the basis of gender because it applies equally to men and to women.
The plaintiffs will appeal the decision to the New York Court of Appeals. A decision in a similar case in Washington is expected soon.