Gay Marriage: What to Expect In NY & Nation After Supreme Court Ruling

June 27, 2013
WBEN Buffalo

 

Gay Marriage: What to Expect In NY & Nation After Supreme Court Ruling

 

 (WBEN/AP) You would think that in New York State, the nation's most populous state to already legalize gay marriage, that reaction to the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling on gay marriage might be a little more muted, where the ruling perhaps has less of an impact.  Afterall, the court's rulings have no direct effect on the constitutional amendments in 29 states that limit marriage to heterosexual couples nor any direct bearing on states where same sex marriage is the law of the land.

But Kitty Lambert -Rudd, the state's first woman to be married when New York legalized gay marriage almost two years ago ( at her July 2011 s ceremony, right) says there is  "dancin' and singing and partying all up and down Allen Street," .now that the ruling is in place.

Wednesday's twin rulings from the high court will extend federal recognition to same-sex marriages in the states where they are legal, and will add California - the most populous state - to the 12 others in that category. That will mean about 30 percent of Americans live in states recognizing same-sex marriage.

 In a handful of politically moderate states such as Oregon, Nevada and Colorado amendments that recognize only heterosexual marriage could be overturned by ballot measures, but that's considered highly unlikely in more conservative states.

Yet the decisions from the high court still gives Lambert-Rudd cause for celebration.

"It absolutely has a change in my legal status. To date I have had a new York State marriage that when I went to Pennsylvania was not recognized by the federal government," she says.  

Lambert- Rudd , who campaigned vigorously for the state measure, is fond off saying that up until now it was as if someone gave her a dollar bill, cut it in half and said she could only spend it in the company store. Now instead she says, the Supreme Court has made the currency of her marriage license valid  anywhere.

"This has a profound effect.  My marriage is now legal across this country.  I am now able to file federal taxes with my wife. I'm able to file for Social Security if either one of us dies, to protect our standard of living..." says Lambert-Rudd adding that the survivor spouse benefit has become a huge issue for the gay community, where many have had financial troubles after the death of a spouse.

"Now my marriage is exactly the same as yours," she says

Even as they celebrate a momentous legal victory, supporters of gay marriage already are anticipating a return trip to the Supreme Court in a few years, sensing that no other option but a broader court ruling will legalize same-sex unions in all 50 states.

While the Supreme Court ruling struck down the federal Defense of Marriage Act(DOMA) , and cleared the way for same sex  marriages that had been banned in California, it sidestepped the larger question of whether banning gay marriage is unconstitutional.

"The Supreme Court is not doing what they did in Roe V. Wade and that is to create at the federal constitutional level a right to gay marriage,' says Attorney Dennis Vacco, a former NY Attorney general, now in practice with Matthias Silverstein and Wexler in Buffalo..

"They have thrown out a key provision of DOMA,  and in so doing are recognizing that the issue of gay marriage is very much alive and active in the states and with the state legislatures," Vacco says

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