Nyack 10 claim bias in gay marriage suit
By SULAIMAN BEG
THE JOURNAL NEWS
By denying same-sex couples the right to marry, the state makes them second-class citizens, argued the attorneys yesterday for 10 couples who filed a lawsuit against the state and Orangetown.
The 49-page response to earlier responses by the town and the state Attorney General's Office, which was filed yesterday in state Supreme Court in New City, reiterated the 10 same-sex couples' stance when they filed a lawsuit in March against Town Clerk Charlotte Madigan and the state Department of Health.
"There is no escaping the effects of denying ... same-sex couples access to the institution of marriage," the response reads. "It deprives them of the tangible rights and benefits that accrue to married couples; it stigmatizes their relationships by deeming them unworthy of the label our society attaches to a couple's deepest expression of commitment and love; and it thereby relegates (them) to a form of second-class citizenship."
The couples, including Nyack Mayor John Shields and his partner, filed the lawsuit March 12 after being turned down when they went to Orangetown Town Hall for marriage licenses.
"Their responses were factually and legally flawed," said Norman Siegel, the attorney representing the 10 couples. "The court should allow Madigan to issue marriage licenses."
Gay activist takes key post
Reuters in Vitoria
A gay rights activist became Spain's first openly gay person in a high-profile political post yesterday when he was named ombudsman for Spain's Basque region.
Inigo Lamarka, head of the Basque Association of Gays and Lesbians, hailed his appointment as a breakthrough.
He said he was pleased his sexuality had not been a "handicap" to his appointment.
"After an excessively long historical period, the historic moment has now come for homosexual people in the Basque Country and in democratic countries to put an end to exclusion, to almost flagrant discrimination," Mr Lamarka added.
Police: Vt. Man Attacked For Being Gay
WILMINGTON, Vt. -- A Wilmington man is facing charges after officials said he attacked a man and made discriminatory comments about his sexual orientation. Police are calling it a hate crime. Police said Jamison Wise beat up Jeffrey McDurfee and made comments about McDurfee's sexual orientation. Brattleboro police said Wise also threatened to burn a witness's house down.
According to Vermont state statute, hate crimes are directed toward another based on race, religion or sexual orientation, and punishments can range from a $2,000 fine or up to one year in jail.