New York Appeals Court Vacates Lower Court Ruling That Failed to Respect Canadian Marriage of Same-Sex Couple Represented by Lambda Legal
(New York, March 28, 2008) — The New York Appellate Division has vacated the decision of the lower court. It ruled that Bradley Davis was not entitled to spousal health insurance benefits even though he and his spouse were lawfully married in Canada and New York state recognizes out-of-state marriages that could not be entered here.
"The decision from the appellate court wipes the lower court ruling off the books," said Susan Sommer, Senior Counsel at Lambda Legal.
Duke Funderburke married his partner of more than four decades, Bradley Davis, in Ontario, Canada in 2004. When Funderburke asked that his retirement benefits from the Uniondale School District be extended to his spouse, he was refused. A lower court ruled in favor of the school district. However, while the case was on appeal the New York State Department of Civil Service (DCS) agreed to extend benefits to same-sex spouses of public employees covered under the New York State Health Insurance Program, including Funderburke and his spouse. The Appellate Court dismissed the appeal as moot and, significantly, vacated the lower court opinion.
The Appellate Court's decision to vacate the lower court's ruling follows now uniform decisions by a number of other New York courts that out-of-state marriages of same-sex couples are entitled to respect in New York.
Susan L. Sommer, Senior Counsel, is Lambda Legal's lead attorney on the case, Funderburke v. The New York Department of Civil Service, Uniondale Union Free School District et al. Jeffrey S. Trachtman and Norman C. Simon of the law firm Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel LLP are co-counsel on the case.
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