Group Sues NY Over Same-Sex Marriages

5:30 PM, Jul 25, 2011   |    comments
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ALBANY -- New Yorkers for Constitutional Freedoms, a group opposed to same-sex marriage, said it is filing a lawsuit today to challenge the Senate vote June 24 to make gay marriage legal in New York.

The Monroe County-based group said it would file the lawsuit in nearby Livingston County and contends the state Senate voted illegally when it passed the same-sex marriage law, making New York the sixth and largest state in the nation to adopt the measure.

The law took effect Sunday, with hundreds of gay couples marrying at town and city clerk offices around the state.

"Constitutional liberties were violated. Today we are asking the court to intervene in its rightful role as the check and balance on an out-of-control state Legislature," the Rev. Jason McGuire, the group's executive director, said in a statement.

A Senate spokesman declined comment. The Senate is a plaintiff in the lawsuit along with the state Health Department and Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, who represents the state when it is sued.

New Yorkers For Constitutional Freedoms has been a leading opponent of same-sex marriage in the state, organizing rallies and events to voice their support for marriage only between a man and a woman. The group joined other conservative groups Sunday in rallies that called for a statewide vote to determine whether same-sex marriage should be legal.

The lawsuit contends that the Senate, which passed the bill 33-29, violated the state's Open Meetings Laws and illegally suspended Senate voting procedures to prevent senators who opposed the bill from speaking.

The group claims in the lawsuit that the Senate didn't follow procedures that require it to be sent to appropriate committees before a vote on the Senate floor.

It also contends that "promises (which were fulfilled) by high-profile elected officials and Wall Street financiers to make large campaign contributions to Republican senators who switched their vote from opposing to supporting the Marriage Equality Act."

By JOSEPH SPECTOR
Gannett Albany Bureau Chief

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