The state’s top court on Tuesday declined to hear an appeal from a Spencerport-based group that sought to have New York’s same-sex marriage law overturned.
New Yorkers for Constitutional Freedoms, a conservative group opposed to same-sex unions, had sued the state Senate over the law, claiming that Republicans in the chamber violated the state’s open meetings law when they met behind closed doors to discuss the measure with New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg.
A state Supreme Court judge in Livingston County had ruled the group’s open-meetings claim could move forward, but the Appellate Division unanimously tossed the lawsuit earlier this year—ruling that the Senate GOP adhered to the Open Meetings Law, which has an exemption for closed-door meetings among political conferences.
On Tuesday, the state Court of Appeals declined to hear the decision. (A plaintiff has to ask permission to appeal to the highest court if the Appellate Division’s ruling isn’t split.)
The denial marks what is likely to be the end of the road for the lawsuit, which looked to toss the same-sex marriage law on procedural grounds rather than constitutional grounds.
UPDATED: Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who shepherded the same-sex marriage law through the GOP-controlled Senate, issued this statement:
“Today, the New York State Court of Appeals, the highest court in the State, denied leave to appeal the validity of the Marriage Equality Act, which affords same-sex couples in this State the right to marry. New York State has served as a beacon for progressive ideals and this statute is a clear reminder of what this State stands for: equality and justice for all. With the Court’s decision, same-sex couples no longer have to worry that their right to marry could be legally challenged in this State. The freedom to marry in this State is secure for generations to come.”
Reached by phone, Jason McGuire, executive director of New Yorkers for Constitutional Freedoms, predicted that lawsuits challenging the same-sex marriage law on constitutional grounds “will begin to crop up.” ”
“We are disappointed,” he said. “Essentially we now have a court that says that they are going to not serve their proper role of a check and balance on a Legislature that has gone rogue. That’s a concern.”
Here’s the relevant denial from the Court of Appeals, which was released among 11 pages of decisions Tuesday: