By Hilary White

ROCHESTER, New York, February 4, 2008 ( – In a victory for homosexual political activists, the Appellate Division of State Supreme Court of New York on Friday declared that same-sex “marriages” recognized as legal in other countries must be considered valid in the state for purposes of employee benefits.

The suit to force Monroe Community College in Rochester to extend health benefits to lesbian partner Lisa Golden was brought by an employee of the college, Patricia Martinez.

Martinez and Golden undertook a marriage ceremony in Canada in 2004. Martinez, a word processing supervisor, sued the school in 2005. A previous judge had ruled in favour of the college. The appeals court, however, ruled that the “marriage” between the two women “is entitled to recognition in New York in the absence of express legislation to the contrary.” 

The court ruled unanimously, “The Legislature may decide to prohibit the recognition of same-sex marriages solemnized abroad. Until it does so, however, such marriages are entitled to recognition in New York.”

The case was brought as a test by the far left advocacy group the New York Civil Liberties Union (NYCLU), who admitted that the purpose of the exercise was to extend the homosexual political efforts through the courts. James Esseks, Litigation Director of the Lesbian Gay Bisexual and Transgender Project of the NYCLU, was specific that the case was part of a larger political effort to abolish the traditional definition of marriage in the state.

“But there is still lots of work to be done here. It’s now up to the state legislature to finish the job it started last year and pass the marriage bill so that lesbian and gay New Yorkers won’t have to leave the state to celebrate their commitments,” Esseks said.

The ruling may create a conflict with a previous decision from the New York Court of Appeals that ruled in 2006 that homosexual couples have no right to be issued marriage licenses by local officials, framing the issue as a matter of the state Constitution. At that time, Justice Smith wrote for the Court, “We hold that the New York Constitution does not compel recognition of marriages between members of the same sex. Whether such marriages should be recognized is a question to be addressed by the legislature.”

But since 1989, when the world’s first legal “civil union” was contracted between two men in Copenhagen, Denmark, it has been courts, not legislatures, that have been used successfully to bring about the weakening – and ultimately in Canada, Spain and the Netherlands, the abolition – of the traditional definition of marriage and family. 

In 1971, two men, Jack Baker and James Michael McConnell applied for a marriage license in Hennepin County, Minnesota. The license was denied, a decision that was appealed all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, which refused to hear the case. This court battle was to set the programme for the homosexual political movement over the next thirty years. Throughout the 1990’s several European countries introduced legal equivalents to natural marriage for homosexual partners, whether called “civil unions”, “civil partnerships”, or “domestic partnerships”.

In 2000, the Netherlands passed a law that allowed such partnerships to be called “marriage”. After several court cases were won by homosexual activists, an Ontario appeals court ordered the Canadian government to institute “gay marriage,” which was done in June 2004.

See related coverage:

New York’s Highest Court Rules 4-2 In Favour Of Traditional Marriage