New York AG seeks dismissal of same-sex marriage lawsuit

[JURIST] New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman [official website] on Friday filed a motion to dismiss a lawsuit challenging the validity of the state's newly passed Marriage Equality Act [text, PDF; JURIST report]. The initial complaint [text, PDF], filed by New Yorkers for Constitutional Freedoms (NYCF) [advocacy website] and other groups in the Seventh Judicial District of the New York State Supreme Court [official website], alleged that the law is invalid because state officials failed to follow proper procedure. The groups argued that state officials violated New York's Open Meetings Law [text] and failed to adhere to the New York State Constitution [text, PDF] mandatory three-day waiting period prior to a legislative vote on the matter. In his motion, Schneiderman argued [CBSNewYork/AP report] that the groups did not have standing to sue because they were not harmed by the law and that separation of powers prevents the state judiciary from becoming involved in legislative matters. Schneiderman requested that a hearing take place on the matter on October 17.

In July, Schneiderman filed an amicus curiae brief [JURIST report] challenging the constitutionality of the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) [text; JURIST news archive], which bars recognition of same-sex marriages. Schneiderman filed the brief in the case of Windsor v. United States, arguing that DOMA violates the Equal Protection Clause [Cornell LII backgrounder] by precluding same-sex couples from the same rights and privileges of opposite-sex couples, and that it intrudes on what had previously been the exclusive right of the states to define marriage. President Barack Obama has expressed support [JURIST report] for the repeal of DOMA and also support for the Respect for Marriage Act [text], which was introduced by Congressional Democrats [JURIST report] in February to repeal DOMA. In March, House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) [official website] announced that he was launching a legal advisory group [JURIST report] to defend DOMA. Democrats introduced the Respect for Marriage Act following February's announcement by the US Department of Justice (DOJ) [official website] that it will no longer defend the constitutionality [JURIST report] of Section 3 of DOMA, which restricts the federal definition of marriage to heterosexual couples, in court cases challenging the provision. The announcement came just one month after the DOJ filed a brief [JURIST report] with the US Court of Appeals for the First Circuit [official website] defending the constitutionality of DOMA.

 

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