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An Overview of the Marriage Equality Act - Kahn & Richardson

Kahn and Richardson - Friday, May 02, 2014
The New York State Marriage Equality Act, passed in 2011, grants same-sex couples the freedom to marry in New York State. This law prohibits the denial of a marriage license to a same-sex couple. The Marriage Equality Act requires that all married couples be treated equally.

Same-sex couples who wish to marry in New York State must comply with the same legal requirements that are applicable to marriages between members of the opposite sex. The couple must obtain a marriage license from any town clerk or city clerk in New York State and can be used to get married anywhere in the state. Both partners must be present to apply for the license. Once the license is obtained, the partners must wait 24 hours before solemnizing the marriage.

There are three legal requirements for solemnization of a marriage: the presence of both partners, the presence of one witness, and a valid officiant. Solemnization of the marriage must take place within 60 days after obtaining the license. New York State does not have any residency requirement for being married in the state. Accordingly, residents of other states may apply for a marriage license in New York State and be married in New York State.

Same-sex marriages in New York State are entitled to automatic access to all of the protections granted to all spouses under state and local laws in New York, including state tax benefits, insurance benefits, health care and family leave, inheritance rights, property ownership and transfer rights, parental rights, worker’s compensation and wrongful death claims, spousal evidentiary privilege, and the use of state and local judicial forums and proceedings relating to separation, divorce, orders of protection and child custody.

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