In 1996, a Federal Statute was passed by Congress that prevented federal recognition of same sex marriages. President Obama has recently directed the Justice Department to stop taking legal action to defend this law in court.
The Obama Administration’s decision was presented to members of Congress by a letter written by Attorney General Eric H. Holder, Jr. The letter stated, “the President and I have concluded that classifications based on sexual orientation” should be subjected to tests that have, in the past, had the impact of blocking unfair discrimination. Attorney General Holder specifically stated that “the Defense of Marriage Act is unconstitutional.”
The Obama administration’s position on the Defense of Marriage Act has been heavily criticized by conservatives in Congress. While conservatives are very unhappy about the Obama administrations position, gay right activist are overjoyed.
Anthony D. Romero, the Executive Director of the American Civil Liberties Union, upon hearing of the Obama’s administrations position on the Defense Marriage Act, stated “this is a great step by the Obama administration and a tipping point for the gay rights movement that will have ripple effects in contexts beyond the Defense of Marriage Act.”
He further stated, “it will reach into issues of employment discrimination, family recognition and full equality rights for lesbian and gay people.”
Same Sex Marriage
There are approximately a dozen states in the United States that allow members of the same sex to be married. New York is not one of these states. However, New York State will recognize same sex marriages if those marriages were legal in the state that they took place. New York takes this action under the theory of comity of laws.
Gay men and women are now fighting to obtain greater rights. In New York State, women received equal rights in 1989. When women received equal rights, fathers also benefitted by the matrimonial and family laws in the State of New York becoming gender neutral. It was thought at that time that fathers’ custody and visitation rights would be greatly enhanced. Although in theory this took place, fathers in the Family Courts are not treated equally in New York State.
Our office represents fathers regarding divorce proceedings, child custody, child visitation matters, child support issues, spousal maintenance and with regard to issues involving allegations of child abuse and child neglect. When fathers are thrown out of their homes due to domestic violence allegations, we represent them in contesting the orders of protection that are taken out against them.
In situations where the parties are amicable, we negotiate separation agreements on behalf of our clients. We also assist fathers with regard to the no-fault divorce law recently passed in the State of New York. Feel free to call us for a free consultation at 1-800-344-6431, 516-561-6645 and 718-350-2802.