>The New York state court said denying same-sex couples the right to marry would violate equal protection measures in the state’s constitution. The ruling came as the court threw out charges that the town’s mayor, Jason West, violated the law by marrying dozens of gay couples in February without licenses, according to an Associated Press report.
“None of the reasons stated in opposition to same-sex marriage is paramount to the equal protection guarantees enshrined in the state and federal constitutions,” Judge Jonathan Katz said in his ruling.
Joshua Rosenkranz, the attorney representing West saw the court’s decision as monumental in the gay and lesbian rights movement. “This marks the first official step in the march toward full equality for gays and lesbians in New York state ,” Rosenkranz told the AP. “It is the first time that any court in this state has declared that same-sex couples have the same rights, same status, and same dignity as every other citizen.”
A spokeswoman for New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer told the AP, “We are reviewing the decision.”
While the decision appears to be a clear cut victory for same-sex marriage proponents, the case will ultimately wind up in New York Supreme Court, a process that could take up to two years. Earlier this year, California’s Supreme Court halted same-sex marriages in San Francisco and is now considering the matter (See CA Supreme Court Puts Gay Marriage on Hold… For Now ). Additionally, Multnomah County Circuit Judge Frank Bearden ordered the Oregon’s largest county to stop issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples (See Judge Halts Oregon Same-Sex Marriages ).