Yetta Kurland answers your questions about marriage rights.

Answers to your real-life legal problems with Yetta Kurland

Dear Yetta:

My partner and I want to get married. I recently read the news about the California Supreme Court decision to allow gay
marriage. Does this decision help us at all in terms of being able to marry in New York? Can we marry in California? Would it be
recognized in New York?

—Wanting to Wed

Dear Wanting:

I believe the recent decision in California to strike down the ban on marriage in that state does help the rights of same sex couples to marry, for many reasons, both here and abroad.

One direct benefit for New Yorkers is the fact that California has no residency requirements for marriage. Before May 15, 2008, same-sex couples who wanted to file for Domestic Partnership Certificates in California had to have at least one partner live or work in the city or county where they were filing. Because there are no residency requirements, it seems plausible that you and your partner would be able to file for marriage in California. Mazel Tov!

Next, to make a long answer short, based on recent decisions in New York it’s quite possible that your California marriage would be recognized here on a state level.

Also, I think that the more states that allow same-sex couples to marry and the more same-sex couples who get married without the sky crashing into the earth or the end of the world coming, the more our delicate homophobic neighbors will realize that it’s no big deal to let us marry. In fact, it probably helps them, because the more we are able to marry each other, the less likely we are to marry them…

There are a few hurdles we’ll have to get over in the long run. First, I hope Arnold Schwarzenegger doesn’t impose a residency requirement like Mitt Romney did in Massachusetts. Arnold is quoted with saying he “respects” the California decision, so let’s keep our fingers crossed. Second, I hope that come November,
anti-gay folk (yes, they do exist even in California) will be stopped from putting something on the ballot that would overturn this decision.

Finally, as with all steps forward, a concern is whether there will be a backlash, (e.g., a nationwide push for a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage). My answer is: We can’t live in fear, and all the more reason to vote democratic!

Email questions to to or call 212-253-6911

Special thanks to Gina M. Bonica, Esq. and Audrey A. Mars, paralegal, at Kurland & Associates, who competently and compassionately assist in our adoption proceedings.

*This column is not a consultation with an attorney and should in no way be construed as such or as a substitute for such consultation. Anyone with legal issues or concerns should seek the advice of her own attorney.

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