New York’s highest court ruled against gay marriage today in a 4-2 decision. The ruling states that New York’s marriage laws do not allow for marriages between same-sex couples and that the legislature must decide whether same-sex marriages should be allowed. Opposing the ruling were Judge Carmen Beauchamp Ciparick and Chief Justice Judith Kaye, who wrote in their dissenting opinion that the court had the obligation to protect against inequalities when the legislature did not do so.
This decision comes after the New York Supreme Court ruled in February of 2005 that the section of New York law forbidding same-sex marriage was unconstitutional, and that gender-specific words and pronouns contained in the Domestic Relations Law “shall be construed to apply equally to either men or women.” This lower court ruling was overturned last December.
Because of the difficulty in passing gay marriage legislation, civil liberties and gay rights organizations were hopeful that the court would interpret the law in their favor, as Massachusetts’ highest court did in 2004, when it required Massachusetts’ marriage laws to provide equal treatment for heterosexual and same-sex couples.