NY Assembly Introduces Amendments to Marriage Equality Bill

 

 S T A T E   O F   N E W   Y O R K
 
8520 2011-2012 Regular Sessions I N ASSEMBLY June 24, 2011
Introduced by M. of A. O'DONNELL -- (at request of the Governor) -- read once and referred to the Committee on Judiciary AN ACT to amend the domestic relations law, in relation to the ability to marry; and to amend a chapter of the laws of 2011, amending the domestic relations law relating to the ability to marry, as proposed in legislative bill number A. 8354, in relation to the statutory construction of such chapter; and repealing certain provisions of the domestic relations law relating to parties to a marriage THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, REPRESENTED IN SENATE AND ASSEM BLY, DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS:


Section 1.

Section 10-b of the domestic relations law, as added by a chapter of the laws of 2011, amending the domestic relations law relat ing to the ability to marry, as proposed in legislative bill number A. 8354, is REPEALED and a new section 10-b is added to read as follows:


S 10-B. RELIGIOUS EXCEPTION. 1. NOTWITHSTANDING ANY STATE, LOCAL OR MUNICIPAL LAW, RULE, REGULATION, ORDINANCE, OR OTHER PROVISION OF LAW TO THE CONTRARY, A RELIGIOUS ENTITY AS DEFINED UNDER THE EDUCATION LAW OR SECTION TWO OF THE RELIGIOUS CORPORATIONS LAW, OR A CORPORATION INCORPO RATED UNDER THE BENEVOLENT ORDERS LAW OR DESCRIBED IN THE BENEVOLENT ORDERS LAW BUT FORMED UNDER ANY OTHER LAW OF THIS STATE, OR A NOT-FOR-PROFIT CORPORATION OPERATED, SUPERVISED, OR CONTROLLED BY A RELIGIOUS CORPORATION, OR ANY EMPLOYEE THEREOF, BEING MANAGED, DIRECTED, OR SUPERVISED BY OR IN CONJUNCTION WITH A RELIGIOUS CORPORATION, BENEVO LENT ORDER, OR A NOT-FOR-PROFIT CORPORATION AS DESCRIBED IN THIS SUBDI VISION, SHALL NOT BE REQUIRED TO PROVIDE SERVICES, ACCOMMODATIONS, ADVANTAGES, FACILITIES, GOODS, OR PRIVILEGES FOR THE SOLEMNIZATION OR CELEBRATION OF A MARRIAGE. ANY SUCH REFUSAL TO PROVIDE SERVICES, ACCOM MODATIONS, ADVANTAGES, FACILITIES, GOODS, OR PRIVILEGES SHALL NOT CREATE ANY CIVIL CLAIM OR CAUSE OF ACTION OR RESULT IN ANY STATE OR LOCAL GOVERNMENT ACTION TO PENALIZE, WITHHOLD BENEFITS, OR DISCRIMINATE AGAINST SUCH RELIGIOUS CORPORATION, BENEVOLENT ORDER, A NOT-FOR-PROFIT EXPLANATION--Matter in ITALICS (underscored) is new; matter in brackets [ ] is old law to be omitted. LBD12066-08-1
A. 8520 2 CORPORATION OPERATED, SUPERVISED, OR CONTROLLED BY A RELIGIOUS CORPO RATION, OR ANY EMPLOYEE THEREOF BEING MANAGED, DIRECTED, OR SUPERVISED BY OR IN CONJUNCTION WITH A RELIGIOUS CORPORATION, BENEVOLENT ORDER, OR A NOT-FOR-PROFIT CORPORATION. 2. NOTWITHSTANDING ANY STATE, LOCAL OR MUNICIPAL LAW OR RULE, REGU LATION, ORDINANCE, OR OTHER PROVISION OF LAW TO THE CONTRARY, NOTHING IN THIS ARTICLE SHALL LIMIT OR DIMINISH THE RIGHT, PURSUANT TO SUBDIVISION ELEVEN OF SECTION TWO HUNDRED NINETY-SIX OF THE EXECUTIVE LAW, OF ANY RELIGIOUS OR DENOMINATIONAL INSTITUTION OR ORGANIZATION, OR ANY ORGAN IZATION OPERATED FOR CHARITABLE OR EDUCATIONAL PURPOSES, WHICH IS OPER ATED, SUPERVISED OR CONTROLLED BY OR IN CONNECTION WITH A RELIGIOUS ORGANIZATION, TO LIMIT EMPLOYMENT OR SALES OR RENTAL OF HOUSING ACCOMMO DATIONS OR ADMISSION TO OR GIVE PREFERENCE TO PERSONS OF THE SAME RELI GION OR DENOMINATION OR FROM TAKING SUCH ACTION AS IS CALCULATED BY SUCH ORGANIZATION TO PROMOTE THE RELIGIOUS PRINCIPLES FOR WHICH IT IS ESTAB LISHED OR MAINTAINED. 3. NOTHING IN THIS SECTION SHALL BE DEEMED OR CONSTRUED TO LIMIT THE PROTECTIONS AND EXEMPTIONS OTHERWISE PROVIDED TO RELIGIOUS ORGANIZATIONS UNDER SECTION THREE OF ARTICLE ONE OF THE CONSTITUTION OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK.

S 2. Subdivision 1-a of section 11 of the domestic relations law, as added by a chapter of the laws of 2011, amending the domestic relations law relating to the ability to marry, as proposed in legislative bill number A.8354, is amended to read as follows:
1-a. A refusal by a clergyman or minister as defined in section two of the religious corporations law, or Society for Ethical Culture leader to solemnize any marriage under this subdivision shall not create a civil claim or cause of action OR RESULT IN ANY STATE OR LOCAL GOVERNMENT ACTION TO PENALIZE, WITHHOLD BENEFITS OR DISCRIMINATE AGAINST SUCH CLER GYMAN OR MINISTER.

S 3. A chapter of the laws of 2011, amending the domestic relations law relating to the ability to marry, as proposed in legislative bill number A. 8354, is amended by adding a new section 5-a to read as follows:


S 5-A. THIS ACT IS TO BE CONSTRUED AS A WHOLE, AND ALL PARTS OF IT ARE TO BE READ AND CONSTRUED TOGETHER. IF ANY PART OF THIS ACT SHALL BE ADJUDGED BY ANY COURT OF COMPETENT JURISDICTION TO BE INVALID, THE REMAINDER OF THIS ACT SHALL BE INVALIDATED. NOTHING HEREIN SHALL BE CONSTRUED TO AFFECT THE PARTIES' RIGHT TO APPEAL THE MATTER.

S 4. This act shall take effect on the same date as such chapter of the laws of 2011, takes effect.

 

Comments

  1. Bruno says

    Uh-oh: “New #gaymarriage bill contains a “nonseverability” clause. If any part of law got struck down, the whole thing goes down.”

    Haven’t read it yet, but there better not be anything unconstitutional in there.

  2. says

    was anyone here planning on asking gay-hating people to perform their ceremonies in a gay-hating establishment furnished with flowers by a florist that hates gay people?

    no? anybody? didn’t think so.

  3. Jason says

    @Bruno

    I think this must be what you are talking about..

    S 5-A. THIS ACT IS TO BE CONSTRUED AS A WHOLE, AND ALL PARTS OF IT ARE TO BE READ AND CONSTRUED TOGETHER. IF ANY PART OF THIS ACT SHALL BE ADJUDGED BY ANY COURT OF COMPETENT JURISDICTION TO BE INVALID, THE REMAINDER OF THIS ACT SHALL BE INVALIDATED. NOTHING HEREIN SHALL BE CONSTRUED TO AFFECT THE PARTIES’ RIGHT TO APPEAL THE MATTER.

  4. Bruno says

    @Jason: Yes, that would be it. Looking over the bill, nothing jumps out at me as unusually bad, but I’m not great on legal lingo. Obviously a lawsuit situation like the New Jersey civil unions rental site would be impossible with this language.

  5. Steve says

    “IF ANY PART OF THIS ACT SHALL BE
    ADJUDGED BY ANY COURT OF COMPETENT JURISDICTION TO BE INVALID, THE
    REMAINDER OF THIS ACT SHALL BE INVALIDATE”

    What the hell? How can a clause like that be legal?

    The problem here is really that this exempts religion-owned schools and universities from following the law. Not in regards with what they teach but how they treat their employees

  6. Bruno says

    @Rontex: The bill can be challenged in court, but it can only be wholly struck down or upheld. Which would I guess mean all the marriages would be invalidated, or something like that.

  7. Alex says

    Non-severability clause is not good. That makes the entirety of this bill far too susceptible to other legal claims that will bring the whole thing down. That being said, the amendment itself is no problem. Who cares? Religious entities will have the right to refuse to perform marriage services for gay couples. I think that’s wholly reasonable. We’re not fighting for religious marriage.

  8. ohplease says

    Unless they do things even more differently in NY than they obviously already do, it’s not possible for the legislature to dictate a how a bill is interpreted, right? Isn’t this essentially taking authority away from the Judicial branch? Isn’t it only the Judiciary that can decide which parts of a bill stand and which don’t?

  9. Bruno says

    @Alex: True, but I could only have seen legal challenges to the bill coming from our side, regarding the religious exemptions. If we’re OK with those, even begrudgingly, the bill should survive. The NY Supreme Court has already said that the right to decide the issue lies with the legislature, so I can’t see the bigots having any way of taking this down.

  10. bill o says

    S-5a appears like a way for the Republicans to protect their precious religious orgs…as soon as S 1a is deemed unconstitutional the whole ammendment is null and void….

  11. Jollysocks says

    If it’s good enough for Danny O’Donnell, it’s good enough for me. It looks just like I thought it would, more placating for religious organizations. Don’t worry guys, I’m NOT planning on getting married in a Knights of Columbus hall anytime soon! The non-severability clause is questionable (and kinda absurd as it’s a judge’s decision on what parts of a bill should be struck down).

    We can come back for the changes we want later. I don’t think it’s wise to wait another 3 to 6 years to get another shot at this!

    Lanza, Grisanti, Saland — now what are YOU thinking??

  12. says

    Part of me actually “hopes” that some (big) businesses have the “right” to practice anti-gay discrimination – it’d be a real wakeup call to not only LGBT people but to our intelligent and compassionate LGBT-allies to be aware of where they spend their money and support.

    We’ve seen it before: bigoted establishments brought to their knees. It just takes a big enough surge of pro-Equality people to demand that it happen.

    All in all, though, I’m not too displeased with this. The more we’re going to see which “groups” are pro-Equality and which are not then the more we’re going to get socially-conscious individuals and groups choosing more carefully whom to support and whom to boycott.

    With so many pro-Equality religious/spiritual groups out there, it’s about time that pro-Equality people, gay and straight, left the Bigoted Churches behind.

    Why stay in a place that won’t accept you when another will? Religions won’t change their stances unless it becomes financially necessary for them to. People always forget this.

  13. rodca says

    So, if it passes will we see some right wing hate group challange the amendments in an attempt to invalidate the entire law? OK, maybe that is too cynical, even for me…

  14. Tyler says

    I don’t think the nonseverability clause presents a problem, though it is silly. I don’t see how religious exemptions from nondiscrimination laws are unconstitutional, as most of them are probably duplicative with the First Amendment anyway. And courts also have the option of interpreting a statute to be constitutional rather than striking it down.

  15. Bruno says

    @Rodca: It’s possible, but I guarantee you they would have no leg to stand on, and no court would be willing to strike this law down based on their pitiful arguments.

  16. Bruno says

    Sen. Maziarz says #samesexmarriage bill will come to Senate floor for a vote.

    Asmblymn O’Donnell; can assure u if in fact its put to Sen floor there are the votes to pass it. Have known for a number of weeks 32 votes.

    It’s happening, folks.

  17. ALSNYC says

    The amendment could be rewritten as: “Hateful religious organizations reserve their right to be hateful, discriminating douchebags.”

    Same effect, fewer words.

  18. Jason says

    Now what are the current laws regarding discrimination based on sexual orientation in New York? Wouldn’t the current laws override anything in this bill that violates them and therefore it would not need to be challenged in court because the bill states that it abides by the current laws?

    “NOTWITHSTANDING ANY STATE, LOCAL OR MUNICIPAL LAW, RULE, REGULATION, ORDINANCE, OR OTHER PROVISION OF LAW TO THE CONTRARY”

  19. Mike says

    O’Donnell was just on NY1 and said that there are 32 votes, he’s known about the 32 for over a week. Cap Conf is saying it WILL be brought up for a vote.

  20. Bruno says

    @Jason: There is a strong anti-discrimination law in NY, however, all the language in this bill applies to marriages. And obviously, that anti-discrimination law can’t apply to gay marriages, which are illegal in NY.

  21. Keith says

    Who cares. It does not matter. Even this bill riddled with discrimination and selective protection of hate groups is a step forward. Lets not get side tracked.

  22. Jack says

    Jason:

    No, I that language means this bill overrides. In the end it doesn’t really matter because applying the law contrary to the religious exemptions would probably be unconstitutional

  23. colin says

    there seems to be about 2600 people watching the live feed of the senate, but there is othing going on… does anyone know if there is a scheduled time for this?

  24. Micklest says

    The Repubs apparently got exactly what they wanted in the amendment. By rights they should bring it to a vote, and let it pass. But this is New York politics we’re talking here, so… Meh.

  25. Randy says

    This seems to be religious bias.

    Why are non-religious organizations unable to exempt themselves from recognizing certain marriages?

    What happens when the “religious” basis for refusal of service is a protected characteristic like race or religion? This will surely land in court.

    If people live in religiously-dominated small towns, why is it OK to force them to have to leave town to receive service as a married couple?

    Why are only the fairy-tale people allowed to discriminate?

    This demeans every marriage in NY, not just those performed in NY, or involving New Yorkers.

    I believe this bill must be rejected, if it contains this amendment. New Yorkers can still get married in neighbouring states and Canada. This bill can be tried again in coming years.

    There’s NO RUSH. Let’s get it right.

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