Update, July 6, 2011:

The current version of this FAQ can be found at Fair Marriage Laws in New York: Frequently Asked Questions (2011).

Last month, Gov. David Paterson directed all state agencies to follow the law by revising their policies and regulations if they have not already done so to recognize marriages of same-sex couples performed in other jurisdictions, including Massachusetts and Canada.

Watch the video to learn more

The governor’s directive relied upon a February NYCLU victory in the case Martinez v. County of Monroe in which an appeals court unanimously agreed that the time-honored “marriage recognition law” applies to the valid out-of-state marriages of lesbian and gay couples. This long established legal principle requires that New York State recognize marriages solemnized outside the state.

Though many state agencies and municipalities have had such policies for years, not every New Yorker knows that or understands the intricacies of the law. The NYCLU created its Marriage Q&A to help answer questions New Yorkers may have about Gov. Paterson’s directive, the recent victory for marriage fairness in California and what all of this means for New York’s lesbian and gay couples.

The guide, written by NYCLU attorneys, answers questions such as:

  • I thought I couldn’t get married in New York if I’m in a same-sex relationship. Does this decision change that?
  • I am married to my same-sex spouse. What does this mean for me?
  • Am I entitled to spousal health care coverage from my or my spouse’s employer if my spouse and I are married?
  • If we are not married, should we get married in Canada? Can we get married in Massachusetts? Can we get married in California?
  • How does this affect my kids?
  • How does this affect my taxes?

The NYCLU also has a video available that explains the Martinez case and how it helped clarify New York’s law, as well as a way for lesbian and gay couples to tell their own stories and explain why they are considering getting married.