Our opinion: New York’s same-sex marriage law is upheld in court. Could the next great legislative triumph come about in a more open, less controversial way?
Now come the muted yet satisfied cheers on State Street, beginning in Governor Cuomo’s office and extending to Attorney General Eric Schneiderman’s office. The state’s gay marriage law has survived a lingering court challenge.
Relief is in order, surely, since the Appellate Division of the State Supreme Court unanimously ruled that the state Senate did nothing illegal when it voted to legalize same-sex marriage thirteen months ago. Pride, too, of course, because passing that law was the right thing to do.
But what about reflection?
Just because the court says the Senate didn’t violate the state’s Open Meetings Law — as the anti-gay marriage group New Yorkers for Constitutional Freedom had argued — doesn’t mean that such a great moment for civil rights is much of an example of how government should work.
On a topic as vital as gay marriage, especially, the machinations of state government should have been on full display, with no room for anyone to allege secrecy or undue political expediency.
stead, what should be a grand chapter in New York’s history ends with the court overlooking private meetings of the Senate Republicans before four members defected to vote for gay marriage. One of those meetings was attended by Mr. Cuomo; another was attended by New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg. Neither, of course, are Republicans.
“Even assuming, arguendo, that the Bloomberg and Cuomo meetings violated the OML, we would not invalidate the MEA and the marriages performed thereunder,” the court’s ruling says in its references to the Open Meetings Law and the Marriage Equality Act, as the gay marriage legislation is officially known.
We would have written a similar decision. It’s just too bad that gay marriage couldn’t have been upheld without such a distracting caveat.
The decision, written by Justice Eugene Fahey, goes on to conclude that the legal, if unusual, lobbying of the Republican senators was followed
This article originally appeared on: http://blog.timesunion.com/opinion/gay-marriage-good-government/21077/