Same-sex marriages elsewhere OK in N.Y.

March 4, 2004 at 7:55 AM

NEW YORK, March 4 (UPI) -- Same-sex marriages are not allowed in New York though such ceremonies legally performed elsewhere are recognized as lawful.

That's the legal opinion of New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer, who said the state's marriage laws, recognizing only unions between a man and a woman, raised "serious constitutional concerns" that would ultimately have to be resolved by the courts.

Until the courts rule, he said, same-sex couples cannot be legally married in the state, the New York Times reported Thursday.

Spitzer said he was trying to stop those who are seeking to change the law by performing same-sex marriages, adding, "One of the messages I was trying to send was: Don't do it."

The overall legal opinion was nonetheless hailed by gay-rights groups and set the stage for gay couples in New York who have been married elsewhere to begin challenging the state to grant them the privileges of marriage. It also likely will set off a wave of lawsuits.

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