About this Case

As explained by the court:
“When defendant Department of Civil Service announced that it would recognize the parties to a same-sex marriage as spouses if their marriage were valid in the jurisdiction where it was solemnized, thereby allowing such spouses of state employees access to the benefits provided under the New York State Health Insurance Program . . . plaintiffs commenced this action as individual taxpayers seeking a declaration that the Department's recognition of such marriages is illegal, unconstitutional and results in the unlawful disbursement of public funds.”

Summary of NLF's Brief

We made two arguments.  First, we made our famous “salt” argument.  We explained why limiting marriage to one man and one woman because that was the traditional definition was not circular.  We noted by way of analogy that salt was traditionally defined as one molecule of sodium combined with one molecule of chlorine.  Despite this definition being traditional, one simply could not produce salt by combining two molecules of sodium or two molecules of chlorine.  Second, we explained why neither the New York Constitution nor the New York sexual Orientation Anti-discrimination Act required the conferring of marriage benefits on persons not legally married in New York.