June 24, 2011, by Melanie Nathan
In thirty days same-sex couples will be able to marry in New York State. The Marriage equality Bill was signed into law today mere hours after it was passed by the New York State Senate, in a 33 to 29 vote, exceeding the swing by more than the expected one vote. New York State does not have residency requirements and so any one from anywhere in the world can legally marry in the state, heralding a boost to the State’s economy by an estimated $200 million per annum.
Religious groups are not required by law to marry same-sex couples under the amendment attached to the bill.
The interesting question will be the one of jurisdiction when out of State couples decide to divorce in State’s where indeed there are residency requirements.
But for now we will not talk divorce as we are ecstatic about the ideal of equality attained in New York State.
As an activist, notwithstanding my excitement at this momentous vote, I would be remiss if I failed to assert this opportunity to remind America and President Obama, that until such time as the Defense of Marriage Act is repealed, same-sex couples do not share federal benefits or rights under th law in parity with heterosexual married couples, regardless of their legal State marriage.
The most onerous of such inequality under the federal law is the fact that if a same-sex couple married legally in New York, (or anywhere else in the U.S.) where one spouse is a foreign national without U.S. residency, the American spouse has no right to sponsor a foreign spouse for a green card. Immigration rights are attained is under federal law and DOMA specifically excludes same-sex, gay and lesbian couples from the rights that apply to heterosexual couples.
We are urging President Obama to stop the inequity and to go CUOMO on the U.S.