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Same Sex Marriages: Rights and Obligations in New York

On June 26, 2011, the Marriage Equality Act was passed in New York.  New York became the fifth state to recognize same sex marriages.  The Marriage Equality Act states “a marriage that is otherwise valid shall be valid whether the parties of the marriage are of the same or different sex.”  The intent of the statute is to allow marriage to become a fundamental human right in same sex relationships.

Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA)

The Defense of Marriage Act, which is a federal statute passed by Congress, does not recognize same sex marriages.  This statute bars the Federal Government from recognizing same sex marriage as being constitutional.  The law states “no state, territory, or possession of the United States or Indian tribe shall be required to give effect to any public act, record or judicial proceeding or any other state, territory, possession or tribe respecting relationships between persons of the same sex that is treated as a marriage under the laws of such other state, territory, possession, or tribe or right or claim arising from such other relationship.” It should be further noted pursuant to Section Seven under Title One of the United States Code marriage is defined as a legal union between a man and a woman and the term spouse only refers to a person of the opposite sex who is a husband or a wife.

Rights Under New York’s Marriage Equality Act

The Marriage Equality Act in New York conveys certain rights to individuals in same sex marriages.  The following are a list of some of these rights:

1.         Family and Medical Leave

2.         Veterans and military benefits

3.         Workman’s Compensation benefits

4.         Pension and survivor benefits

5.         Immigration rights

6.         Health insurance

7.         Automobile Insurance

8.         Burial rights

9.         Testate and Intestate Spousal rights under New York State law (Inheritance Rights)

10.       Creates tenancy by the entirety regarding real property ownership (marital rights to real estate)

11.       Allows a New York State Tax exemption

12.       Creates certain spousal evidentiary privileges


The New York Marriage Equality Act goes a long way in recognizing same sex marriage and providing the parties to these marriages with many benefits.  However, until the Federal Government revokes the Defense of Marriage Act there are numerous federal benefits that won’t attach to individuals in same sex marriages.

New York and Long Island Divorce and Family Court Lawyers

The Law Offices of Schlissel DeCorpo have been litigating a myriad of issues involving divorce and family court situations for more than thirty years.  The attorneys at this firm have more than 100 years of combined legal experience.  Some of the matters handled by the law firm involved divorces, divorce grounds, orders of protection, high net worth divorces, grandparents’ rights, equitable distribution of assets, annulments, no fault divorce, child abuse defense, issues involving reduction of child support, custody issues, changing child custody, orders of protection, father right issues and mothers’ rights issuesFeel free to contact the firm for a consultation.

Valley Stream, Lynbrook, Baldwin, Malverne, Freeport, Oceanside, Long Beach, Elmont, Lakeview, West Hempstead, Hempstead, Merrick, Bellmore

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