Progress Made for New York Couples Married Out of State

Same-sex couples from New York who married in Massachusetts before July 6, 2006, have legally valid marriages

Marriages of same-sex couples from New York who wed in Massachusetts before July 6, 2006 are legally valid, according to a decision on May 10 by a judge in Massachusetts. Suffolk Superior Court Judge Thomas Connolly reasoned that the out-of-state marriages are valid because New York had not explicitly banned same-sex marriages until that time.

Same-sex marriage became legal in Massachusetts on May 17, 2004, but out-of-state couples are barred from marrying there if the marriages would not be recognized in their home states. Judge Connolly ruled in September that same-sex couples from Rhode Island also have the right to marry in Massachusetts because same-sex marriage is not expressly prohibited there.

Additionally, some same-sex couples legally married out of state are now eligible for more benefits. The New York State Department of Civil Service announced on April 27 that any state or local employee married to a same-sex spouse will have access to spousal  benefits provided through the New York State Health Insurance Plan.