Under current law, partners unable to enter into a civil marriage - and their children - lack legal protections taken for granted by married couples. In such areas as property ownership, inheritance, health care, hospital visitation, taxation, insurance coverage, child custody and pension benefits, married couples receive important safeguards against the loss or injury of a spouse, and crucial insurance against legal intrusion into marital privacy.Spitzer reportedly seeks to fulfill a campaign promise [NYT report] he made last October in his run for governor to support a gay marriage bill. In response, State Senate Majority Leader Joseph Bruno (R) [official website] announced that he still opposed recognizing same-sex marriage, and suggested that in the wake of the recent killing of a New York state trooper [Utica Observer Dispatch report] Spitzer should put more priority on reintroducing the death penalty for criminals who kill police officers.
Spitzer has admitted that his bill is unlikely to receive support from state lawmakers. Gay marriage advocates nonetheless applauded the bill as a step forward. "Today is a watershed moment in our community's struggle to win the freedom to marry," said Alan Van Capelle, executive director of gay rights group Empire State Pride Agenda [advocacy website]. AP has more.