Suit Seeks to Overturn Gay Marriage Law in New York

NEW YORK – A Christian-based lobbying group, New Yorkers for Constitutional Freedoms, filed a lawsuit Monday in New York Supreme Court seeking to overturn the gay marriage law and nullify the hundreds of same-sex weddings that took place Sunday.

The suit was filed one day after the gay marriage law went into effect. Plaintiffs allege that the state Legislature used a "corrupt legislative process" to pass the Marriage Equality Act, thus infringing on the rights of New York citizens.

"Constitutional liberties were violated. Today we are asking the court to intervene in its rightful role as the check and balance on an out-of-control State Legislature," stated NYCF executive director Rev. Jason J. McGuire, one of the plaintiffs in the suit.

Nathaniel S. Leiter, executive director for Torah Jews for Decency, an Orthodox Jewish advocacy group, is also listed as a plaintiff in the suit.

Some of the violations listed in the lawsuit include:

• The Senate violated the New York State open meetings laws

• The suspension of normal Senate voting procedures to prevent Senators who opposed the bill from speaking

• Failure to follow Senate procedures that require that a bill must be sent to appropriate committees prior to being placed before the full Senate for a vote

• Unprecedented Senate lockouts by which lobbyists and the public were denied access to elected representatives

• The Governor’s violation of the constitutionally mandated three-day review period before the Legislation votes on a bill by unjustifiably issuing a message of necessity

• Promises by high profile elected officials and Wall Street financiers to make large campaign contributions to Republican senators who switched their vote from opposing to supporting the Marriage Equality Act.

Plaintiffs, represented by Liberty Counsel, an evangelical Christian legal organization in Florida, are seeking declaratory and injunctive relief.

"New York law requires that the government be open and transparent to keep political officials responsible," Mathew Staver, founder and chairman of Liberty Counsel and Dean of Liberty University School of Law, said in a statement.

"When government operates in secret and freezes out the very people it is supposed to represent, the entire system fails. The back-room tactics were rampant in the passages of this law. The law should be set aside and the process should begin again to allow the people a voice in the process."

The lawsuit also alleges that Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo had no basis for issuing a message of necessity, which allowed lawmakers to immediately vote on the marriage bill after it was drawn up instead of allowing it to "age" for three days as is usually required.

A spokesperson for Cuomo dismissed the suit, saying, "The plaintiffs lack a basic understanding of the laws of the sate of New York. The suit is without merit."

Spokesmen for the Senate majority leader Dean G. Skelos and the state attorney general Eric T. Schneiderman have declined to comment.

Despite the pending lawsuit to nullify the bill, gay and lesbian couples continue to go to the City Clerk’s offices to get marriage licenses, and exchange vows.

The lawsuit is only a part of the growing opposition to the new gay marriage law.

On Sunday, thousands of protesters participated in the "Let the People Vote" rallies across Manhattan, Albany, Buffalo and Rochester to demand that state lawmakers allow voters to decide the gay marriage issue on a statewide referendum.

New York is the sixth and most populous state to recognize same sex marriage.

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