Groups offer guide on same-sex couples' rights in New York

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February 2, 2009


"Same-sex couples who were married out of state are being given a clearer understanding of what their rights and responsibilities are in New York in a guide recently published by four leading advocacy groups.

"The distribution of the guide follows on the heels of both a May 2008 directive by Gov. David A. Paterson for all state agencies to recognize valid same-sex marriages performed in other states and countries and a recent state appellate court ruling, stemming from a lawsuit filed in Rochester, that such marriages must be legally recognized in New York by employers in the public and private sectors.

"...The guide provides a summary of the rights married, same-sex New York couples have, ranging from health insurance coverage to the right of one spouse to shuck shellfish if the other one has a permit.

"The guide is titled 'Your Government Respects Your Marriage: Developments in New York State Agency Recognition of Same-Sex Couples' Out-of-State Marriages.'

"...Susan Sommer, senior counsel for Lambda Legal, says that since May, state agencies have 'absolutely' been following the laws and that her organization has seen a 'commitment' to carrying out Paterson's directive."