Gay Marriage Across the Border

Recognition of marriages across political boundaries is a long standing, virtually global tradition .,.. perhaps one of the earliest non-refugee related mundane global practices … to cross borders to get married. The distinction between ceremony and recognition is well established. This does not always mean that marriages are so recognized, but more often than not, they are.

i-3066e55500934b411d04404a24182b6c-gay_marriage_01.jpg

Why are we talking about this? I’m expanding on a discussion happening here regarding the recognition of marriages (in particular gay marriage), celebrated elsewhere, by New York State.

i-83693f08e1d2bcff593cdacdc5c93a86-gay_marriage_02.jpg

Boston, May 17, 2004: Christian Schlesinger (left) and Russ Irwin smile at their daughter, 8-month-old Nina Porter, while they wait in line at City Hall to apply for a marriage license. Buster Coen, 8, a friend of the family, is at right. source
One must keep one’s head about these matters …. recognition of marriage is NOT a way for people to get away with something. Rather, it is the complete opposite, a conservative social convention. If my marriage was not recognized in Wisconsin (I live in Minnesota), then I could have a boy/girlfriend in Wisconsin legally, as long as we only met there. People go to Las Vegas to get married and divorced with less state interference and paperwork. Israeli Jews traditionally traveled to Cyprus to get married outside of the oppressive mantle of rabbinical law, and so on. If a government entity could easily un-recognize a marriage in a non-trivial way, there would be countries or territories that do this. “What happens in Las Vegas Stays in Las Vegas. … Including any chance of bigamy charges….” Recognition of marriage from across a territory is the overwhelmingly common way.

Here is some detail on the Martinez Case from Findlaw:

Shortly after the wedding, Martinez applied to her employer, Monroe Community College (MCC), for spousal health benefits for Golden, a benefit clearly provided to opposite-sex spouses. MCC refused to extend benefits to Golden, and Martinez sued. However, the trial court dismissed the case, ruling that since the marriage was not valid in New York, Golden was not a “spouse” and thus was not entitled to any of the benefits accorded other, legal spouses.

On appeal, Martinez made two claims. First, she argued that Golden is her legal spouse under New York law. Second, she argued that MCC’s denial of spousal benefits, which were automatically granted to opposite-sex spouses, constituted unlawful sexual orientation discrimination under New York law. She prevailed on both arguments.

Elsewhere in the court system, the Hernandez decision, an excellent example of conservative judges legislating from the bench, determined that “same-sex marriages cannot be legally celebrated in New York.” (ibid)

According to Joanna Grossman’s piece on Findlaw:

What is the relevance of Hernandez to the question presented in Martinez? Absolutely none. The question whether a marriage can be legally celebrated in a jurisdiction is entirely distinct from the question whether the marriage should be given effect in the state….

New York’s highest court has recognized … a common-law marriage even though the New York legislature had abolished common-law marriage by statute, a marriage between an uncle and a niece of the half blood, an underage marriage, and a “proxy marriage” (where only one party shows up to the ceremony), even though New York would not itself have permitted any of these marriages in the first instance.

What set of rules led courts to give effect to the marriages at issue in these cases?

The first rule of marriage recognition is the “place of celebration” rule – the idea that a marriage is valid everywhere if valid where celebrated. Most states apply some version of this rule to marriage recognition cases….

Currently, Gay Marriage is not allowed to happen in New York because the courts, not the legislature, has said so. It is possible for the legislature to specifically outlaw recognition of gay marriages, but until that is done it is unlikely that any reasonable (likely higher) court decision would follow that route.

The Martinez decision was addressed most recently in May:

New York’s highest court handed same-sex marriage advocates a victory on Tuesday by refusing to hear an appeal on an appellate court’s groundbreaking ruling that recognized a same-sex couple’s Canadian marriage.

By letting the earlier ruling stand, valid out-of-state same-sex marriages are recognized by the state of New York. Currently in the United States only Massachusetts offers same-sex couples the legal right to marry.

The case, Martinez v. County of Monroe, was decided in February by an appellate court which unanimously affirmed the lesbian couple’s Canadian marriage. The New York Civil Liberties Union (NYCLU) brought forth the case on behalf of Patricia Martinez, a word processing supervisor for Monroe Community College in Rochester since 1984.

source

i-e364a17e626ac0f75129877ca222db68-gay_marriage_03.jpg

Boston, May 17, 2004: The Goodridges embrace their daughter, Annie, at City Hall while completing the marriage application process. source
I find the fact that we are even having this discussion absolutely unbelievable.

Gay people have the right, in fact, the responsibility, to get married. Allowing and even encouraging gay marriage is not the first step towards the decline of civilization. It is one of the last steps in the formulation of civilization.

Comments

  1. #1 JanieBelle
    June 4, 2008

    For what it’s worth, my parents crossed a U.S. state line to be married to avoid the blood test and three day waiting period imposed in their home state.

    The marriage would have been considered illegal in their home state of the time, yet there were no problems whatever in its recognition by that same state.

    By all family accounts, Elkton, MD was a bit of a mecca for young metropolitan Philadelphians in the 60s for that very reason.

  2. #2 JanieBelle
    June 4, 2008

    “Allowing and even encouraging gay marriage is not the first step towards the decline of civilization. It is one of the last steps in the formulation of civilization.”

    Now that right there is quotable. It should be plastered on billboards across the nation.

  3. #3 Greg Laden
    June 4, 2008

    Thank you. I had a kinda squishy good feeling when I wrote it.

    Is it good enough to get me a place on the Wall of Honor???

  4. #4 Baratos
    June 4, 2008

    Allowing and even encouraging gay marriage is not the first step towards the decline of civilization. It is one of the last steps in the formulation of civilization.

    I think there would be less homophobia if in schools, children learned how supporting of gays the founders of Western civilization were. For example, the most elite troops of ancient Athens. They were organized into a group of 150 gay couples. They were the most feared soldiers in ancient Greece after the Spartans, who themselves had no problems with gays.

    While on the subject, the fact that the SPARTANS of all people were actually more tolerant than Americans on something is disturbing.

  5. #5 Elizabeth
    June 4, 2008

    Over the years, I have attended a number of “gay weddings” in the United States and never realized that I was observing a crime being committed. (Until this became an issue recently).

  6. #6 Horace
    June 4, 2008

    Republicans: You can make this issue go away by passing Universal Health Care. And getting rid of marriage tax/penalty.

  7. #7 Joe Shelby
    June 4, 2008

    Tell all that to Clinton and the assholes in the Gingrich era congress.

    Defense of Marriage Act, 1996:
    1. No state (or other political subdivision within the United States) need treat a relationship between persons of the same sex as a marriage, even if the relationship is considered a marriage in another state.
    2. The Federal Government may not treat same-sex relationships as marriages for any purpose, even if concluded or recognized by one of the states.

    Mind you, the Full Faith and Credit Clause, which supporters feared would force states to recognize same-sex marriage, may still be applied someday to overturn that law, but only if someone, like the Lovings, actually files a complaint that gets that far…

  8. #8 Elizabeth
    June 4, 2008

    Universal health care would be nice, but there is still the issue of basic human rights.

  9. #9 Elizabeth
    June 4, 2008

    Joe,

    I don’t think any such legislation can ultimately stand up against the basic constitutional tests.

  10. #10 Foreign_Observer
    June 4, 2008

    “The Federal Government may not treat same-sex relationships as marriages for any purpose, even if concluded or recognized by one of the states.”

    You have a law that says that?

  11. #11 JanieBelle
    June 4, 2008

    “Is it good enough to get me a place on the Wall of Honor???”

    I think that’ll about do it, Greg. You’ve been added to both mine and Kate’s.

    (Forgive the mess, every time I find a way around WordPress’ blockage of the “textarea” tag, they find a way to close the hole. Bastards.)

  12. #12 Charlotte
    June 4, 2008

    There will always be people against equality. Marriage is a basic civil right that should be attainable by all Americans if they choose. For those who are uncomfortable with gay marriage check out our short produced to educate & defuse the controversy. It has a way of opening closed minds & provides some sanity on the issue: http://www.OUTTAKEonline.com

  13. #13 Stephanie Z
    June 4, 2008

    You earned that squishy good feeling, Greg. When do we get the t-shirts? Make them in women’s cut too and I think we can get that in front of more interested eyes than billboards would give us.

  14. #14 JanieBelle
    June 4, 2008

    Sadly, it’s too long to fit on a thong.

  15. #15 Stephanie Z
    June 4, 2008

    Janie, I’m fighting the urge to ask how many eyes that would get.

  16. #16 JanieBelle
    June 4, 2008

    On mine, specifically?

    I’m publicly polyamorous, so more than two.
    :)

  17. #17 Stephanie Z
    June 4, 2008

    Well, yes, but that doesn’t make how many a less impertinent question. And really, I think impertinence is more your schtick than mine. You certainly do it better. :)

  18. #18 JanieBelle
    June 4, 2008

    Thanks.

    I’m not good with boundaries.
    ;)

  19. #19 Joel
    June 4, 2008

    Joe Shelby, my memory of that time was the United States was leaning very conservative, the whole religious right, silent majority thing and some states had gone as far as banning marriages in their constitutions.

    Some say that DOMA was a tactic to placate those calling for a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage. The idea being, it is much easier to get a law overturned than a constitutional amendment.

    I’d have to agree, a tactical withdrawl is sometimes necessary.

  20. #20 Joe V.
    June 4, 2008

    In the top picture… in the back… is that… Scott McClellan? Jeff Gannon, eat your heart out!

  21. #21 Caveat
    June 4, 2008

    You know, the whole gay marriage thing is really not a big deal. I guess it happens often here in Ontario but it’s never newsworthy and only a small lunatic fringe seems to think it’s controversial – most of whom have never met a gay person in their lives.

    Heck, our provincial Health Minister married his gay buddy last summer and nobody batted an eye – press coverage was minimal as for any public person’s wedding.

    My personal opinion? Why should gay people have all the fun and get off Scot-free? They should have to suffer the way depressed people do.