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Court dismissed gay marriage legal challenge

By Tom Precious

ALBANY – The state’s highest court, in a ruling that surprised few legal watchers, declined to hear a case today challenging the procedure by which the state Senate approved gay marriage rights last year.

The now-dismissed lawsuit, brought by New Yorkers for Constitutional Freedoms, whose leadership is composed mostly of evangelical ministers, featured a number of claims, including that the state’s open meetings law was violated at least twice prior to the vote that okayed the measure.

The court was not asked to look at the broader constitutional issue of same-sex marital rights, a course some critics of the law could still try to launch. "What is most troubling is that the court has surrendered its rightful role as a check and balance on an out-of-control Legislature," said Rev. Jason McGuire, executive director of group that brought the suit.

Critics noted one Senate Republican who voted for the bill – Roy McDonald of Saratoga County – has already seen his political career end with a September primary defeat and another, James Alesi of Rochester, decided against facing voters this fall by retiring. Buffalo Senate Republican Mark Grisanti lost the Conservative Party line because of his support for the bill, though he is leading in general election polls. The fourth Senate GOP backer, Steve Saland of Dutchess County, is facing a tough re-election fight this fall, and Gov. Andrew Cuomo came to his defense last week by crossing party lines to endorse the veteran lawmaker.

Cuomo, who made the gay marriage bill his signature policy piece of 2011, praised the Court of Appeals decision not to hear the legal challenge. "The freedom to marry in this state is secure for generations to come," Cuomo said in a statement this afternoon.

tagged

Andrew Cuomo | Elections | Mark Grisanti
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About Politics Now

Robert J. McCarthy

Robert J. McCarthy

A native of Schenectady, Robert J. McCarthy came to The Buffalo News in 1982 following a six-year stint at the Olean Times Herald. He is a graduate of St. Bonaventure University, and has been covering local, state and national politics since 1992.

[email protected]


Tom Precious

Tom Precious

Tom Precious joined The Buffalo News in 1997 as bureau chief at the state Capitol, where he covers everything from statewide politics and state government fiscal affairs to health care, environmental and municipal government matters. Prior to The News, he worked for news outlets in Albany and Washington, DC.

[email protected]


Jill Terreri

Jill Terreri

Jill Terreri is an Amherst native and has covered politics and government in upstate New York since 2003. She joined The Buffalo News in 2012 and covers City Hall.

@jillterreri | [email protected]


Jerry Zremski

Jerry Zremski

Jerry Zremski, The Buffalo News Washington bureau chief, has reported from the nation's capital since 1989 after joining The News as a business reporter in 1984. A graduate of Syracuse University, Zremski is a former Nieman fellow in journalism at Harvard University. In 2007, he served as president of the National Press Club.

@JerryZremski | [email protected]

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