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Budget, Education & City Services

Support of Same Sex Marriage

WHEREAS, The issue of marriage equality for same sex couples has come to the forefront recently in New York City as well as in the national consciousness; and

WHEREAS, Community Board Five has supported marriage equality for same-sex couples per a resolution passed on July 11, 2002; and

WHEREAS, In March 2004, five lesbian and gay couples sued City Clerk, Victor Robles, for denying them marriage licenses in New York City.  They moved for judgment declaring that under NY State Constitution, they are entitled to treatment equal to that of opposite-sex couples with regard to issuance of marriage licenses and access to civil marriage; and

WHEREAS, On February 4, 2005, New York State Supreme Court Justice Doris Ling-Cohan declared that same-sex marriages does not violate New York State Constitution's Domestic Relations Law, instead ruling that the statute, by implicitly permitting only heterosexual marriage, violates the Due Process and Equal Protection clauses of the state Constitution; and

WHEREAS, As on February 7, 2005, Mayor Bloomberg announced his decision to appeal Judge Doris Ling-Cohan's ruling stating that this decision should rest with the state's highest court, the Court of Appeals, in order for the City to avoid what occurred in San Francisco, where Mayor Gavin Newsom issued marriage licenses to same-sex couples only to be later nullified by California State Supreme Court; and

WHEREAS, Mayor Bloomberg states that he personally supports same-sex marriage in the news media, however his administration's 75 page legal brief issued on February 8, 2005, contradicts his public support; and

WHEREAS, The Bloomberg administration's brief quotes an earlier New York State Supreme Court decision defining "the institution of marriage as the union of man and woman . . . a tradition as old as the Book of Genesis," and that, "There is no deeply rooted history or tradition of same-sex marriage in either this country or this state;" and

WHEREAS, Civil marriage is a basic human right as well as a private and public commitment of love and support by adult couples; and

WHEREAS, The choice of whether or not to civilly marry is a personal decision in our society; and

WHEREAS, Civil marriage provides a gateway to hundreds of protections, responsibilities, and benefits established by New York State and to more than one thousand on the Federal level.  Some of these include:

WHEREAS, No state law or constitutional amendment exists that defines marriage between a man and woman; and

 WHEREAS, According to the City Bar Association of NY, the state's domestic relations law makes no mention of a couple's sex and thus should be interpreted to include same-sex couples; and

WHEREAS, The New York Post published an article quoting a Quinnipiac Poll that 51% of New York City voters were in favor of civil marriage rights for same-sex couples; and

WHEREAS, New York State Assemblyman Dick Gottfried and State Senator Tom Duane introduced bills in the Assembly and State Senate in the previous legislative session that would have:

RESOLVED, That Community Board Five strongly urges the Court of Appeals to recognize same sex couples and their families and to enable New York State and New York City to begin issuing marriage licenses; and be it further

RESOLVED, That Community Board Five strongly supports New York State Assemblyman Dick Gottfried's and State Senator Tom Duane's plans to reintroduce these bills and urges them to do so as soon as possible.

The above resolution then passed with a vote of 27 in favor, 0 opposed, 2 abstentions.

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