New York appeals court upholds ban on New Paltz same-sex marriages
New York appeals court upholds ban on New Paltz same-sex marriages

[JURIST] A New York appellate court has upheld a lower court ruling [JURIST report] banning New Paltz [official website; JURIST news archive] Mayor Jason West from performing same-sex marriages. The unanimous five-judge panel said West "acted beyond his authority" when he presided over 24 gay marriages last year. West was tried for violating New York's domestic relations law [JURIST report], but has repeatedly argued that he was attempting to uphold the constitutional rights of gay couples. Justice John Lahtinen wrote the court's opinion [PDF text] saying:

West robed himself with judicial powers and declared the marriage laws of this state unconstitutional. Having concluded that the Legislature violated the constitution, he then wrapped himself with that body's power and drafted his own set of documents for licensing marriages. In so doing, he clearly exceeded his role as a village mayor.

The appellate court has also been hearing individual cases brought by same-sex couples who were refused marriage licenses, some of which are expected to go to New York's high court to make the final determination on whether the state will allow same-sex marriage [JURIST news archive]. From Albany, 1010 WINS has local coverage.