ACLU Promises to Appeal Marriage Case for Same-Sex Couples to New York’s Highest Court

Affiliate: ACLU of New York
February 16, 2006 12:00 am

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ALBANY – The American Civil Liberties Union today promised to appeal to New York’s highest court after an intermediate court refused to strike down a state law that bars same-sex couples from marriage and the hundreds of family protections afforded to married couples.

“Of course we’re disappointed in this ruling that the state can continue to deny same-sex couples the protections of marriage, but this case is far from over,” said Roberta Kaplan of Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton and Garrison, LLP, who argued the case as an ACLU cooperating attorney. “As we’ve known all along, this issue will ultimately be decided by New York’s highest court.”

The case, brought by the ACLU’s national Lesbian and Gay Rights Project, the New York Civil Liberties Union, and Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton and Garrison, LLP was argued on October 17 before the Third Judicial Department of the New York Supreme Court’s Appellate Division on behalf of same-sex couples. Some of the plaintiffs, who hope to be married in the state and had been on the waiting list to get married by Mayor Jason West in New Paltz, were present in court.

The New York Court of Appeals has already accepted review of the issue of marriage for same-sex couples in another case, Hernandez v. Robles, which was brought by Lambda Legal.

“Same-sex couples make the same commitments to each other and share the same responsibilities that heterosexual couples make, yet lesbian and gay couples are treated as legal strangers,” said James Esseks, Litigation Director of the ACLU’s national Lesbian and Gay Rights Project. “Same-sex couples who make the commitment to love and support each other for the rest of their lives shouldn’t be denied the same protections for their families that married couples receive from the state.”

Esseks and Sharon McGowan of the ACLU’s Lesbian and Gay Rights Project, Art Eisenberg of the New York Civil Liberties Union, and Kaplan and Andrew Ehrlich of Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton and Garrison, LLP are the legal team representing the plaintiffs.

Biographical information on all of the clients, the legal documents and other background materials about Samuels and Gallagher, et. al. v. New York Department of Health are available at

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