Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Married in MA, Pension in NY

Oo, creeping Massachusettsism...

The New York State decision related to Canadian same-sex married couples, but let's be provincial and put a Boston spin on it. Lambda Legal gets a double high five. It skunked the Dark Side's Alliance Defense Fund and got a widely applicable ruling on SSM and the state pension fund.

Don't you love it when the bad guys overreach and set precedent?

For a lesbian couple married in Canada, Peri Rainbow and Tamela Sloan, Lambda intervened in Godfrey v. Napoli. The same Court of Appeals in Albany that had ruled the state had the right to ban SSM, said it could not restrict state pensions because of that.

This never should have been an issue, except for the mean-spirited suit. In 2004, then state AG Eliot Spitzer backed up the state comptroller, Thomas D. Napoli, who had said that a legal marriage is a legal marriage as far as a pension is concerned. Some anti-gay sorts in Westchester County apparently figured to piggyback on the SSM decision and challenged extending retirement rights to Canadian SS couples. The new comptroller, Alan Hevesi, stepped right in and defended the call.

Judge Thomas J. McNamara wasn't swayed by the bad guys. He said the questions had nothing to do with each other. New York recognizes legal out-of-state marriages and the present AG and comptroller are right in supporting the previous decisions.

This is very Rhode Island-like in opening the window for marriage fairness and comity.

Evening Update: Leonard Link has the legal analysis, supporting the comity principles for foreign and Massachusetts SSM in the NY pension system.

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Anonymous said...

This case also provides an opportunity to reassure timid MA legislators that they don't need to be afraid of "opening the floodgates" by repealing the 1913 laws. Canada cracked those gates in 2003 and flung them wide in 2005.

massmarrier said...

This is the time to rally for that too. The tentative pols who said to wait until after the anti-SSM amendment went down can't say that now. I've been urging this and wouldn't mind calls and letters to our executive branch as well as the General Court. This should be an easy one.

Jane Know said...

Thank you for the wonderful blog. I'm going to link it to mine.

massmarrier said...

And Jane's blog is the very promising Fallacy Findings. It's new, but she's already covering good stuff.