Judges Ask Tough Questions in Same-Sex Marriage Case

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Judges on a New York appellate court asked tough questions of an attorney who tried to convice them that marriage is a fundamental right that should be extended to same sex couples. WNYC's Dan Blumberg was there.

In February, a state judge ruled the city was violating the constitutional rights of same sex couples by denying them marriage licenses.

Mayor Bloomberg ordered city lawyers to appeal the ruling, even though he said he agreed that same sex marriage should be legal. Arguing before the five member court, city attorney Leonard Koerner said only the legislature could change the law -- not the courts.

But Lambda Legal's Susan Sommer said the court could overturn a law if it was deemed unconstitutional. One judge asked her three times why the matter even belonged before the court. Each time she cited a fundamental right to marry though she seemed unable to satisfy the judges' request for case law to back that up.

No matter which way the judges rule, the case is likely to end up before the state's highest court for a final ruling.

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