In oral arguments yesterday, the Arizona-based Alliance Defense Fund presented their case against David Paterson over equal marriage rights in New York. The lawsuit was filed in June shortly after Paterson ordered state agencies to recognize same-sex marriages performed elsewhere. But New York Supreme Court Judge Lucy Billings seemed unimpressed with the ADF's arguments. According to the New York Sun, Billing implied that she would rule against the group, saying: "The petitioners, I'm sure, are headed to a higher court." From the Sun:
The most heated exchange came over one of the Alliance Defense Fund's key arguments: that the word "marriage" fundamentally means a bond between a man and a woman. Mr. Raum argued that, if Mr. Paterson's interpretation of New York law were to stand, "then marriage would mean nothing. It would mean whatever any foreign jurisdiction says."
"Yes, it does mean that in New York," Judge Billings replied. She said that there could be an exception if a certain marriage were deemed "abhorrent" but did not say gay marriages fit that definition.
The debate largely hinges on a 2006 Court of Appeals ruling that left open the question of whether the state should recognize those out-of-state unions. The legislature in Massachusetts, which has recognized same-sex marriages since 2004, just decided to allow out-of-state residents to enter into such unions last month. The ADF has made several attempts to challenge marriage equality in New York, the Post reports, including once before at the appellate level. All previous efforts failed.