Since the legalization of LGBTQ+ marriage in the United States in 2014, most U.S. states have made legislative efforts to increase legal rights and protections for all LGBTQ+ Americans. The state of New York has consistently been a leader in advocating for LGBTQ+ rights and equality.
The Legalization of LGBTQ+ Marriage in New York:
Nationally, LGBTQ+ marriage became legal in the United States in May of 2014 under President Barack Obama’s Administration. However, as a national LGBTQ+ rights leader, New York legislature had already legalized LGBTQ+ Marriage. Same-sex marriage became legal in New York on July 11, 2011, through the passage of the Marriage Equality Act. The Marriage Equality Act creates a new section in the New York Domestic Relations Law establishing that all marriages in New York will be held to the same standard of validity regardless of the individuals’ gender.
The New York Marriage Equality Act and LGBTQ+ Marriage:
The New York Marriage Equality Act protects the right to enter a lawful marriage for all citizens of New York regardless of gender or sexual orientation since passage in 2011. Specifically, the Act provides that no one may prevent, ban, or restrict a marriage that the state of New York would legally recognize because of the couples’ gender or sexual orientation. Therefore, an LGBTQ+ couple has the same marriage rights as any other couple in New York.
The act itself altered the New York Domestic Relations Law by implementing the following additions:
- All applications to obtain a marriage license that is otherwise valid and eligible for approval will be approved regardless of gender or sexual orientation.
- No marriage may be made invalid or illegal based on gender or sexual orientation.
- The New York government may deny no government protection, access point, right, status, benefit, or other government-sponsored program or process to couples entering a same-sex marriage based on gender or sexual orientation.
- Lastly, the Marriage Equality Act provides religious organizations, entities, and groups the right to refuse to perform a marriage ceremony as long as the refusal stems from remaining within the entity’s religious stance, practices, or principles.
Is an LGBTQ+ Marriage Eligible for a License in New York?
By adding these legislative rights and protections to the New York Domestic Relations Law, all couples who meet the New York State marriage eligibility requirements may legally marry. This means that opposite-sex and LGBTQ+ couples can apply for a marriage license regardless of gender or sexual orientation. The New York State Marriage Eligibility Requirements are listed below.
Eligibility for a Marriage License in New York Requires:
- One of the spouses entering the marriage
- Another third-party individual who,
- Has documentation of Proper Purpose for obtaining the license
- Is seeking the license due to a Judicial Order or purpose
- Is under order to get the marriage license through a valid New York State Court Order.
To apply for a marriage license in New York, eligible individuals must ensure that they present all the necessary documentation. Failure to do so will result in a legally acceptable marriage license denial.
Complete Applications Must Include One of the Following:
Option A: A valid form of photo ID such as:
- A valid driver’s license
- A valid, state-issued photo ID
- A valid passport
- A United States Military photo ID
Option B: Two of the following documents that clearly state the applicant’s name and address:
- A telephone bills
- Utility bill
- A letter or notice from a United States Government Agency that one receives no more than six months prior to the marriage license application
Other Effects of the Marriage Equality Act in New York
Legalizing same-sex marriage through the Marriage Equality Act in New York also impacts various other components within New York’s laws. One such area is the realm of healthcare, specifically, policies surrounding married couples and health insurance. The passage of the Marriage Equality Act in New York directly altered the tax status of health benefits at both the State and Local government levels when they provide coverage to a same-sex spouse. These changes mean that cities in New York must now report the value of the health insurance benefits coverage they provide to a same-sex spouse differently. For more information surrounding these changes affecting health benefits coverage for same-sex couples, please reference this informational packet or contact the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance by visiting their website.
Contact Pride Legal
If you or a loved one have questions regarding same-sex or LGBTQ+ marriage laws in New York, we invite you to contact us at Pride Legal for legal counseling or any further questions. To protect your rights, hire someone who understands them.