On April 16, 2009, New York Governor David Patterson announced the introduction of legislation that would legalize same-sex marriage in the state. The legislation was designed to amend the New York Domestic Relations Law to allow same-sex couples to enter in to civil marriages, which would give them the same rights as heterosexual couples. In May 2008, Governor Patterson issued a mandate requiring that any and all out-of-state same-sex marriages be recognized as legal within the state of New York. The act passed under Governor Andrew Cuomo in June 2011 and eliminated any legal distinctions between opposite-sex and same-sex marriages, although the law provided a loophole that allows clergy who refuse to perform same-sex marriages to avoid prosecution.
Read comprehensive coverage of the legal controversy surrounding Same-Sex Marriage in Features and read commentary about recent cases in Montana that reveal divisions in the gay rights movement from JURIST Guest Columnist Shannon Gilreath in Forum.