Whereas, the "freedom to marry" is, in the words of the United States Supreme Court, "one of the vital personal rights essential to the orderly pursuit of happiness by free people."
Whereas, civil marriage grants special rights and privileges in such areas as property ownership, inheritance, health care, hospital visitation, taxation, insurance coverage, child custody, pension benefits and testimonial privileges, married couples receive important safeguards against the loss or injury of a spouse, and crucial assurances against legal intrusion into their marital privacy.
Whereas, civil marriage is the means by which the State defines a couple's place in society.
Whereas, same gender couples are denied access to the institution of civil marriage.
Whereas, those who are excluded from its rubric are told by the institutions of the State, in essence, that their solemn commitment to one another has no legal weight.
Therefore be it resolved that the Manhattan Borough Board urges the Governor and the New York State Legislature to immediately amend the domestic relations law, in relation to the ability to marry, to read as follows:
A MARRIAGE THAT IS OTHERWISE VALID SHALL BE VALID REGARDLESS OF WHETHER THE
PARTIES TO THE MARRIAGE ARE OF THE SAME OR DIFFERENT SEX (S4440).
This amendment, Bill S440, provides same-sex couples the same opportunity to enter into civil marriages as opposite-sex couples. The bill also provides that no member of the clergy may be compelled to perform any marriage ceremony.