A state appeals court on Friday ruled
that lawmakers did not violate any laws when they conducted
closed-door negotiations on New York's gay marriage law.
The Appellate Division of the state
Supreme Court in Rochester ruled against a challenge filed by New
Yorkers for Constitutional Freedoms, a group which had lobbied
lawmakers to reject the law, who argued that Republican state
senators violated New York's open meeting rules whey they met behind
closed door with gay marriage supporters, including Governor Andrew
Cuomo and New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, ahead of the law's
passage last year.
“The court's decision affirms that in
our state, there is marriage equality for all, and with this decision
New York continues to stand as a progressive leader for the nation,”
the AP quoted Cuomo as saying.
The court ruled unanimously that the
Republican caucus with invited guests was exempt from the law's
provision which requires public access to the deliberations of
“In the event that we were to adopt
plaintiffs' limited definition of 'guests,' it would be impossible
for a Democratic member of a governor's office, such as a budget
director, to speak to a majority Republican caucus,” the court said
in its decision.
The Rev. Jason McGuire, executive
director of New Yorkers for Constitutional Freedoms, called the
decision a “disappointment” but did not say whether his group
would pursue an appeal.
“It's a disappointment, because this
gives a green light to the politicians to [use] strong arm tactics
behind closed doors and shut out the people from the process,” said
Mathew Staver, founder of Liberty Counsel, which represented the