NY CourtFrom The New York Times:

ALBANY — New York’s highest court heard arguments in two cases on Tuesday that could have profound effects on the battle over same-sex marriage.

The cases, which the court, the New York State Court of Appeals, is considering jointly, concern relatively narrow executive and administrative orders in recent years that extended benefits like health insurance to same-sex spouses of government employees who married in jurisdictions where such marriages are legal, and, in one county, required local officials to treat same-sex couples as married.

But a broad enough ruling by the Court of Appeals could force businesses and local governments in the state to recognize out-of-state marriages between same-sex couples, effectively legalizing the unions of thousands of New Yorkers who were married in Vermont, Iowa, Canada and other places where same-sex marriage is legal.

Governor David Paterson introduced legislation this year that would legalize gay marriage, making it one of his top legislative priorities. The bill passed in the Assembly but stalled in the Senate.

A decision by the Court of Appeals requiring New York to recognize out-of-state gay marriages would provide gay-marriage advocates, who have been campaigning to legalize same-sex marriages in New York, with a significant victory.

Full story at The New York Times.

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