New York Officials Permanently Barred from Soleminizing Gay Marriages

A state judge has issued a permanent injunction preventing officials in New Paltz, New York, from performing same-sex marriages.

The Ulster County Supreme Court had issued a temporary injunction on June 24 against Village officials after two Village Board Trustees, Rebecca Rotzler and Julia Walsh, began solemnizing same-sex marriages in the Village, picking up where Mayor Jason West had left off before being permanently blocked from marrying same-sex couples by the court on June 7. Supreme Justice E. Michael Kavanagh’s order on Nov. 30 made the injunction permanent.

The Liberty Counsel, a conservative legal group based in Florida, sued West on behalf of Robert (Bob) Hebel, a member of the New Paltz Board of Trustees, after he had begun issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples on February 27 in his Hudson Valley Village Hudson Valley. When Kavanagh issued a permanent injunction against the Mayor, West and other Village Board officials appointed Rotzler and Walsh to issue same-sex marriage licenses, spurring a second lawsuit brought by Liberty Counsel.

On Tuesday, the second New York judge in two months ruled that same-sex marriage is not a fundamental right under New York’s marriage laws. State Supreme Court Justice Joseph Teresi dismissed challenges to New York’s marriage laws brought by thirteen same-sex couples saying, “There is a legitimate state interest in granting marriage licenses only to opposite sex couples.” Liberty Counsel had filed a brief in that case.

After observing the recent court rulings in New York, Mathew D. Staver said on Thursday, “The battle to preserve traditional marriage is winnable.

“Recent victories in New York and other courts upholding marriage laws as constitutional show that the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court’s decision in Goodridge is out of step with common sense.”

Rebecca Rotzler, the deputy mayor named as a co-defendant, promised an appeal.