FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: Anita Aboulafia (212) 267-6646, ext. 225 (phone) (212) 406-9252 (fax) firstname.lastname@example.org
NYCLA TO FILE AMICUS BRIEF IN SUPPORT OF SAME-SEX MARRIAGE RIGHTS AND
URGES NYSBA TO SUPPORT EQUAL MARRIAGE RIGHTS FOR SAME-SEX COUPLES
FEBRUARY 24, 2005 – NEW YORK, NY – In response to the City of New York’s intention to appeal a February 4 ruling by New York State Supreme Court Justice Doris Ling-Cohan declaring the ban on same-sex marriage unconstitutional, the New York County Lawyers’ Association’s (NYCLA) Executive Board has authorized the filing of an amicus brief in support of full civil marriage rights for same-sex couples when the matter is considered on appeal.
NYCLA also adopted a report calling upon the 70,000-member New York State Bar Association (NYSBA) to endorse equal marriage rights for same-sex couples at its House of Delegates meeting in April. In a Special Committee Report that was issued in October 2004, nine of NYSBA’s 12 colleagues have recommended that “the legislature should enact comprehensive legislation extending to same-sex couples the rights now extended to opposite-sex couples.” The dissent position, however, is that for the NYSBA “to take a position as an organization of lawyers in such matters is a dangerous leap into matters of social policy, an area where our Association should not tread.”
Subsequent to the release of the NYSBA report, NYCLA created a Same-Sex Marriage Task Force under the leadership of immediate Past President Michael Miller, who serves as chair, and Ivan J. Dominguez, chair of NYCLA’s Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) Issues Committee, who is the Vice Chair.
According to Mr. Miller, “The underlying premise of NYCLA’s position is that same-sex couples are entitled to the same fundamental right to form families and enjoy the same protections under the law afforded opposite-sex couples and that to deny same-sex couples this fundamental right is a deprivation of due process and equal protection under the law.” He concluded, “It is gratifying to note that a courageous New York jurist, Supreme Court Justice Ling-Cohan, has ruled precisely this in Hernandez v. Robles.“
Norman L. Reimer, NYCLA’s President, explained, “NYCLA’s commitment to speak out on this issue is consistent with our mission to fight for equal rights for all people and our belief that it is the inherent responsibility of all lawyers to ensure that the legal system guarantees citizens universal access to fundamental rights. In fact, in December of 2003, our Board adopted a resolution endorsing full equal civil marriage rights for same-sex couples.”
Mr. Dominguez added, “As part of its ongoing fulfillment of its noble mission, the leadership of this great bar association has for years taken the lead in the civil rights struggle of our generation — equal rights for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Americans. The Board’s authorization to file an amicus brief and the adoption of our Task Force’s report are further examples of the fearless advocacy of a bar association of committed attorneys who voluntarily dedicate themselves to the betterment of our legal system for all people. I take tremendous pride in the opportunity to be a part of the critical work in which this bar association is engaged.”
The New York County Lawyers’ Association (www.nycla.org) was founded in 1908 as the first major bar association in the country that admitted members without regard to race, ethnicity, religion or gender. Since its inception, NYCLA has pioneered some of the most far-reaching and tangible reforms in American jurisprudence and has continuously played an active role in legal developments and public policy.
To read the complete report of the Same-Sex Marriage Task Force, log on to www.nycla.org and click on Publications and on NYCLA Reports.
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