S T A T E O F N E W Y O R K
2011-2012 Regular Sessions
I N ASSEMBLY
June 24, 2011
Introduced by M. of A. O'DONNELL -- (at request of the Governor) -- read
once and referred to the Committee on Judiciary
AN ACT to amend the domestic relations law, in relation to the ability
to marry; and to amend a chapter of the laws of 2011, amending the
domestic relations law relating to the ability to marry, as proposed
in legislative bill number A. 8354, in relation to the statutory
construction of such chapter; and repealing certain provisions of the
domestic relations law relating to parties to a marriage
THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, REPRESENTED IN SENATE AND ASSEM
BLY, DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS:
Section 10-b of the domestic relations law, as added by a
chapter of the laws of 2011, amending the domestic relations law relat
ing to the ability to marry, as proposed in legislative bill number A.
8354, is REPEALED and a new section 10-b is added to read as follows:
S 10-B. RELIGIOUS EXCEPTION. 1. NOTWITHSTANDING ANY
3. NOTHING IN THIS SECTION SHALL BE DEEMED OR CONSTRUED TO LIMIT THE PROTECTIONS AND EXEMPTIONS OTHERWISE PROVIDED TO RELIGIOUS ORGANIZATIONS UNDER SECTION THREE OF ARTICLE ONE OF THE CONSTITUTION OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK.
S 2. Subdivision 1-a of section 11 of the domestic relations law, as added by a chapter of the laws of 2011, amending the domestic relations law relating to the ability to marry, as proposed in legislative bill number A.8354, is amended to read as follows:
1-a. A refusal by a clergyman or minister as defined in section two of the religious corporations law, or Society for Ethical Culture leader to solemnize any marriage under this subdivision shall not create a civil claim or cause of action OR RESULT IN ANY STATE OR LOCAL GOVERNMENT ACTION TO PENALIZE, WITHHOLD BENEFITS OR DISCRIMINATE AGAINST SUCH CLERGYMAN OR MINISTER.
S 3. A chapter of the laws of 2011, amending the domestic relations law relating to the ability to marry, as proposed in legislative bill number A. 8354, is amended by adding a new section 5-a to read as follows:
S 5-A. THIS ACT IS TO BE CONSTRUED AS A WHOLE, AND ALL PARTS OF IT ARE TO BE READ AND CONSTRUED TOGETHER. IF ANY PART OF THIS ACT SHALL BE ADJUDGED BY ANY COURT OF COMPETENT JURISDICTION TO BE INVALID, THE REMAINDER OF THIS ACT SHALL BE INVALIDATED. NOTHING HEREIN SHALL BE CONSTRUED TO AFFECT THE PARTIES' RIGHT TO APPEAL THE MATTER.
S 4. This act shall take effect on the same date as such chapter of the laws of 2011, takes effect.
The bottom line? It's really not a lot worse than it was before - and to boot, all it really does is extend to marriage a number of the religious exemptions that were included in SONDA, just with a lot more teeth to make sure there are no challenges.
The in terrorem clause, threatening to invalidate the whole law if any part of it is successfully challenged, is a particularly interesting touch - it might have been added at the suggestion of a GOP senator with a trusts and estates practice, familiar with the value of simmilar in terrorem clauses in the drafting of wills.
While I might feel a little queasy that the Republicans felt necessary to throw all this in, I think that if and when this passes in both Assembly (and perhaps a single bill incorporating all the changes in the Senate), it should be time for a minor and muted celebration. They're not doing anything with GENDA.
But if they do want similar "religious protections" in GENDA, I guess I will have to take a close look at them - as long as they apply acoss the board, as these seem to, then it should be fine.
So, if a religion does not want to perform interracial marriages or the local Masonic Lodge does not want to allow an interracial couple to have their wedding reception at their hall, this bill will protect the Masons, and not a thing can be done about that.
UPDATE: The amendment passed in the Assembly first, and then the Senate first passed the Amendment, and then the underying bill. ha maon bill passed 33-29 - with one vote more than the 32 needed for passage. Upstate Senatr Grisanti was vite #33 - and his explanation of his vote was nearly as well received at The LOFT as Senator Duane's emotional and stirring words.
I cannot help but be pleased that marriage has passed - it's as close to equality as one could reasonably expect, given the power and influence of the Roman Catholic Church.
In the final analysis, the opponents got what they really felt they needed - keeping weddings that don't want out of their churches and affiliated organization reception halls - and the proponents got the word maddiage and civil equality, at least outside those churches and affiliated organizations.