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Genesee Valley Chapter — Marriage Fairness

Marriage Fairness

Patricia Martinez wins case against Monroe County! Monroe County on February 22, 2008 announced that it will appeal the appellate court’s decision. Scott Forsyth also had an article in the Daily Record reviewing the case. The attorney for Pat Martinez, Jeffrey Wicks, on March 14, 2008 filed a brief opposing the request to appeal the decision to the Court of Appeals, New York State’s highest court. Typically the Court of Appeals takes three weeks to three months to decide if it will hear an appeal. While the filing of the appeal delays the enforcement of the decision in the Martinez case itself, the decision is being already referenced in other cases around New York State. On March 6, 2008, an article in The New York Times describes how it has been noted in a gay divorce case. The Appellate Fourth Division ruled 5-0 in favor of Patricia Martinez on February 1, 2008 in her suit to require the County of Monroe to provide her marriage equal benefits. The decison requires that MCC, an arm of New York State, must recognize her valid Canadian marriage to her wife. Her employer, Monroe Community College, must give her wife the same health benefits offered to any other spouse. The decision is available on the Appellate Fourth Division web site under February 1, 2008 decisions as Martinez, Patricia v. County of Monroe or on our web site. The case is described in the original suit, our initial press release, and the January 13, 2005 ACLU press release. Here is the press release from the NYCLU announcing the decision. Jeffrey Wicks of Rochester was the NYCLU cooperating attorney who represented Patricia Martinez. This is the first appellate decision in New York on the subject. It is a statement on what New York law is now and has been for decades. Consequently any gay or lesbian couple who has gotten married in Canada will have their marriage recognized in New York State. This ruling will be binding on all trial courts in New York unless and until there is a different appellate holding. Both the New York Times (front page of Metro Section) and the Democrat and Chronicle have feature stories on the decision in their February 2, 2008 editions. In an editorial on February 5, 2008 the New York Times recognized the importance of the decision as a stepping stone in New York State towards equal marriage rights for gay and lesbian couples. The Genesse Valley Chapter of NYCLU arranged for the help of NYCLU and Jeffrey Wicks.  


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