New York appeals court rules state can annul same-sex civil unions

[JURIST] A New York state appeals court ruled [text, PDF] Thursday that the state's courts have jurisdiction to hear requests to annul civil unions performed in other states. The Third Judicial Department Appellate Division [official website] reversed a 2008 Schenectady County Supreme Court [official website] decision, citing multiple protections New York affords to same-sex partnerships as sufficient to establish competency despite the state lacking its own civil union law:

Here, while New York has not created a specific mechanism for dissolution of a civil union validly entered into in another state, neither has it exercised its power, by statute or other legislative enactment, to prohibit an action for dissolution of a civil union. Since Supreme Court's jurisdiction over the subject matter of this action has not been proscribed, and this matter involves a dispute for which "adequate relief by means of an existing form of action is [un]available to the plaintiff," Supreme Court is competent to adjudicate the case.
The case involved a same-sex New York couple that that entered into a civil union in Vermont. Vermont, however, was unable to provide relief since it requires at least one party to be a resident of the state for at least one year.

The New York Senate [official website] rejected [JURIST report] legislation [text; materials] in December that would have legalized same-sex marriage [JURIST news archive]. The bill, introduced to the state legislature in April, passed [JURIST reports] in the General Assembly [official website] by a margin of 89-52 in May. The bill was again passed by the lower body in anticipation of the senate vote, as required by state law. New York, however, is currently one of the few US jurisdictions to recognize [JURIST report] same-sex marriages performed in other states.

 

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