Gay Rights Advocates Score Wins in NY, CA

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CBNNews.com - WASHINGTON - Opposition is already forming against a new mandate from New York's governor to recognize gay marriages from other states.

New York Gov. David Patterson announced today that same-sex marriages done legally in other states have to be recognized in the state.

Why is the governor pushing to honor gay marriage from out of state? Watch more from Lobbyist Jason McGuire with New Yorkers for Constitutional Freedoms, following this report.

It's the first state to acknowledge gay marriages from the rest of the country.

The Implications

But challengers say the Democratic governor is circumventing the state legislature and courts.

Rev. Duane Motley of New Yorkers for Constitutional Freedoms says granting government benefits to gay couples will come at a cost to the state.

Motley says Paterson shouldn't force the state to recognize gay marriages when they remain illegal in New York.

But for many others, the question now is - if New York starts to accept them, will gay marriage spread across the country?

A Score for Gay Rights

Gays can't legally wed in New York, but homosexual couples from New York could travel to California where it will be legal to wed starting June 17. New York will now have to recognize those unions.

It's a case of what some analysts have warned about: one state's decision to legalize same-sex marriage can have an impact on the entire nation.

Some are saying that either no state will have gay marriage, or the whole country will.

In fact, San Francisco's mayor -- a prominent gay marriage advocate -- trumpeted the fact that now that California's legalized same-sex marriage, it'll have to spread.

"It's inevitable," he said. "This door's wide open now. It's going to happen whether you like it or not."

A Matter for the Upcoming Election?

The legality of same-sex marriages could become a national issue in November's general election.

Democrat Barack Obama says he's against gay marriage, but also said he respects the decision of California's Supreme Court last month legalizing gay marriages.

Republican John McCain says he opposes that court's decision, because California voters passed the referendum years ago to reserve marriage for heterosexual couples.

Indeed, it's anger over this clear case of activist judges overwhelming the public's will that may drive many Californians to the polls.

Pro-family advocates are trying to put the issue on the ballot this fall, so the public can decide the issue of marriage.

"That's why 1.1 million Californians went out and signed a petition to put this issue on the ballot in November to take the issue away from the courts and allow the people to decide once and for all what marriage means," gay marriage opponent Andrew Pugno said.

But for now, the will of the court in California is that gay marriage is legal.

And New York's decision to honor same-sex unions from other states means gay marriage could start to spread across the country.

It ultimately could end up in the federal courts - possibly here in Washington at the Supreme Court.

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Paul Strand

Paul Strand

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