Court Gives Bloomberg Permission to Ignore Domestic Partner Rule

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

New York state's highest court has ruled that Mayor Bloomberg can ignore a law which supported benefits for domestic partners in the city. WNYC's Dan Blumberg has more.

By a 4-3 margin, the Court of Appeals ruled that the equal benefits law -- which was passed over the Mayor's veto -- violates existing state and federal law. The court also ruled that Mayor Bloomberg was within his rights to ignore the law. But in a dissent Albert Rosenblatt wrote that the court was ceding judicial authority to the executive. He wrote that a court must declare a law invalid first and until then, it must be followed.

But the majority found that to be a 'circular' argument. Judge Robert Smith wrote that "the Mayor has a duty to implement valid legislation" but that he also has a duty to comply with valid state and federal legislation. City Council Speaker Christine Quinn -- the first openly gay person elected as speaker of the City Council, vowed to continue pushing for benefits for domestic partners.

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