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NYS Bar Association 2009 Marriage Equality Recommendation

NYS Bar Association 2009 Marriage Equality Recommendation

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Published by Paul Schindler

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Published by: Paul Schindler on May 17, 2011
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02/10/2013

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The creation of “civil unions” and “domestic partnerships” reflected efforts to establish

state recognition of same-sex couples’ love, commitment to, and responsibility for each other.

Although some have viewed these mechanisms as too radical, they often represented a way of

valuing lesbian and gay unions without treading on the historical, and to some, religious aspects

of marriage, precisely because they withhold the term “marriage.”

The Committee raises concerns about the “separate but unequal” nature of civil unions

and civil marriage precisely because the New York State Legislature has not yet acted on

marriage equality. It is, therefore, important for the Legislature to take note of the fact that in the

ten years since Vermont introduced the concept of the civil union, two government-appointed

commissions and the highest courts of three states have rejected this model as inherently unequal

– most especially because it is not the historically valued and socially endorsed institution of

civil marriage. The attempt to develop a compromise in the form of civil unions ultimately has

674

Id. at 401-02.

675

Id.

Page 156

Report and Recommendation on Marriage Rights for Same-Sex Couples
of the NYSBA Special Committee on LGBT People and the Law

been rejected because it has improperly compromised the rights of same-sex couples to form

unions equal to those of opposite-sex couples.

It is against this backdrop that the New York State Bar’s Special Committee on LGBT

People and the Law makes the recommendation contained in the final Part of this Report.

Page 157

Report and Recommendation on Marriage Rights for Same-Sex Couples
of the NYSBA Special Committee on LGBT People and the Law

PART FOUR

Conclusion and Recommendation: Equality Is Possible Only
If Same-Sex Couples Have the Right to Marry

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