New York's top court will not hear a challenge to the state's 2011 law legalizing same-sex marriage, ending the most prominent objection to the law.
Tuesday's decision leaves intact the July ruling by another court, which concluded closed-door negotiations among senators and gay marriage supporters, including Gov. Andrew Cuomo, did not violate any laws.
The Court of Appeals, as is customary, did not explain why it wouldn't take the case.
New Yorkers for Constitutional Freedoms claims Cuomo and another gay marriage supporter, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, violated the state's open meetings law when they met behind closed doors with the Senate's Republican majority.
Reverand Jason McGuire told CNY Central's Jim Kenyon, "I think it's increasingly difficult as you move through a liberal court system here in New York to get a decent look at this issue. We're most troubled by the fact that the courts laid down on their rightful role to balance an out of control legislature." McGuire predicts further challenges to the Marriage Equality Act by "others on religious grounds."
Cuomo reacted to the decision Tuesday, saying in a statement: "Today, the New York State Court of Appeals, the highest court in the State, denied leave to appeal the validity of the Marriage Equality Act, which affords same-sex couples in this State the right to marry. New York State has served as a beacon for progressive ideals and this statute is a clear reminder of what this State stands for: equality and justice for all. With the Courtâ??s decision, same-sex couples no longer have to worry that their right to marry could be legally challenged in this State. The freedom to marry in this State is secure for generations to come."
Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner also issued a statement on the ruling, saying â??Today is yet another occasion for same sex couples from across New York to celebrate our stateâ??s commitment to equality. The Court of Appeals, the highest court in the state, refused to hear an appeal of the validity of the Marriage Equality Act. This ensures the fundamental right to marry stays the law of our land for all couples looking to bring together a family. One of the greatest privileges I have as Mayor is to officiate marriage ceremonies. Since the Marriage Equality Act became law, I have been proud to marry a number of gay couples. Giving these men and women the opportunity to share the rights of all equal citizens of our society has been an honor. I can say as a lawyer, as a Mayor, and as a person who believes in the intrinsic equality of all New Yorkers todayâ??s decision by the court was right and just.â??
On October 14, 2011, Miner presided over the marriage of Ernst Schuh and Frederick Marvin on the steps of City Hall. Both Schuh and Marvin say they're pleased by today's Court of Appeals decision. Schuh added, "I hope other states will do the same."
The law was given final legislative approval after weeks of intensive lobbying and swiftly signed by Cuomo, making New York the largest state to legalize same-sex weddings.
(Information from the Associated Press was used in this report)