The Potential of New York Courts to make new law that will impact upon the court’s future decisions to recognize Gay Marriage in New York

We do not recognize gay marriage in New York unless the gay marriage occurred elsewhere in another state. That said, the law is moving in a new direction. In the case of “Court of Appeals of New York, in the Matter of H.M. (Anonymous), Appellant, v E.T. (Anonymous), Respondent, on May 4, 2010, the highest Court moves in that direction by holding that a gay partner regardless of gender, may be held responsible for a child’s support under the Family Court Act provision providing that parents of a child chargeable with the support of a child may decide that a  biological mother seeking child support from her former same-sex partner has a case against the second mother where the second mother alleged that the former gay partner was at one time the child’s parent. This is a significant case that paves the way for reform in New York. 

On the other hand, there is a case that in the companion case of Debra H. v. Janice R. the Court of Appeals said that it DID NOT recognize same sex partner’s rights to custody and held that only a child’s biological or adoptive parent may come to court to litigate custody and visitation. To wit, if a gay partner has no biological, adoptive or other legal relation to the child of whcih custody is sought, and then he or she is “not a parent for visitation purposes. 

The dissent in that case disagreed, but that is the state of the law at present. The fact that the court of appeals is grabbling with this issue seems to be a good sign that soon New York Courts governing custody in New York may change their minds about allowing both gay partners to seek custody of their child regardless of whether they formally adopted the child.

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