Travel & Vacations

New York court holds oral argument in challenge to out-of-state same-sex marriages

Lambda Legal will defend the New York Department of Civil Service’s (DCS) policy to recognize out-of-state marriages of same-sex couples for purposes of health insurance coverage for public employees. The oral argument takes place Wednesday, October 15th in the Appellate Division of the New York Supreme Court.

Susan Sommer, Senior Counsel for Lambda Legal, will argue on behalf of Peri Rainbow and Tamela Sloan, state employees, who married in Canada and are raising a special needs child adopted from foster care. Rainbow and Sloan, intervened in the case to protect their access to spousal health insurance. Sommer is joined by Jeffrey S. Trachtman and Norman C. Simon of Kramer Levin Naftalis and Frankel LLP in New York. DCS will be represented at argument by the state Attorney General’s Office.

In May 2007, the New York State DCS announced that it would recognize, as spouses, same-sex couples who were married in jurisdictions allowing such couples to enter into civil marriage. The lawsuit began when a few New York State taxpayers represented by the Alliance Defense Fund argued that the policy change was unconstitutional and an illegal expenditure of State funds. A lower court ruled in favor of the DCS.

The case is Lewis et al v. The New York State Department of Civil Services et al.

Lambda Legal is a national organization committed to achieving full recognition of the civil rights of lesbians, gay men, bisexuals, transgender people and those with HIV through impact litigation, education and public policy work