The New York City Department of Marriage licenses are no impediment to same-sex marriages, and a federal judge in New York ruled that a city court decision not to grant a same-day marriage license to the same-gender couple in a Manhattan apartment building violates the state’s constitutional guarantee of equal protection under the law.
The decision by Manhattan Supreme Court Justice David Tatel comes as New York’s marriage license ban continues to take hold, with New York Governor Andrew Cuomo declaring the ban to be unconstitutional.
A Manhattan city clerk said on Friday that the couple had applied for a license for April 6, a few days after the city clerk refused to issue them one because the couple was already married.
The couple had been living in a single-story apartment on the fifth floor of a building in the Upper East Side, and they had been married in New Jersey a year earlier.
A New York state law allows a marriage license application to be processed in any city in New England.
The ruling by Tatel also said that the state Department of Health and Mental Hygiene and the Department of Children and Families had not yet ruled on the issue of whether a city clerk could deny a same day marriage license, a decision that could be appealed.
“I am satisfied that the marriage license for this couple was validly issued by the Department, the department of Health, the city of New York, and the state of New Jersey,” Tatel wrote.
The lawsuit was filed by attorneys from the New York Civil Liberties Union, and two other groups.
The suit said that despite the ruling by the court, “the city’s marriage ban continues unabated, as New Yorkers who want to marry their loved ones must now apply in person, go through a background check, and then travel long distances to find a marriage certificate.
They cannot obtain one in person without a lawyer.”
The city of Manhattan, which had already issued a marriage permit to a same sex couple in April, issued a statement saying that the decision to deny the license “does not affect the validity of the marriage of this couple or any other same-Sex couple who want a marriage in the city, and New Yorkers are free to get married in any other city, including the state.”
This is a decision based on the facts and legal analysis that is in the best interest of the city,” the statement said.
In court papers, the couples attorneys said the city’s decision to grant the license was based on its decision to allow same- and opposite-sex couples to get a license the day after New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman issued a temporary restraining order to stop the ban.
The state Department for Health and the Health Department, which are the agencies that are in charge of issuing licenses, said they were reviewing the ruling.