GENESEO - (AP) - Opponents to New York's gay marriage law filed the first lawsuit challenging the measure, an anticipated salvo that came one day after weddings were celebrated around the state.
A representative of New Yorkers for Constitutional Freedoms anda rabbi said in a lawsuit filed Monday in state court that NewYork's Senate violated its own procedures and the state's openmeetings law when it approved the bill on June 24.
The lawsuit claims that the Senate prevented lawmakers whoopposed the bill from speaking and that the Senate didn't followprocedures that require a bill to go through appropriate committeesbefore a full Senate vote.
Opponents of the gay marriage law had promised lawsuits.
"We should have an open and deliberative process," the Rev.Jason McGuire, executive director of New Yorkers for ConstitutionalFreedoms, told The Associated Press. "If truly the legislation canstand on its own merits then it should be able to withstand beingdeliberated publicly."
Spokesmen for Senate Republicans and the state's attorneygeneral declined to comment.
Hundreds of gay couples got married starting just past midnightSunday as New York became the sixth and largest state to legalizesame-sex weddings. Ceremonies were held around the state, mostly inNew York City where the day's celebration was tempered by a protestin which thousands of opponents marched to the United Nations.
On Monday, a mass wedding in Niagara Falls saw 46 same-sexcouples exchange vows.
The bill was adopted the night of June 24, the last day of thelegislative session after days of closed-door negotiationsinvolving Gov. Andrew Cuomo and key lawmakers. The lawsuit claimsthat Cuomo improperly waived the three-day waiting period between abill's introduction and a vote. Such waivers are common in Albanyfor negotiated bills.
The debate on the night of the vote on June 24 was severelyrestricted in a manner unprecedented in recent years.
The Senate's Republican majority allowed unlimited time forsupporters of the bill to speak, including Democratic Sen. ThomasDuane who sponsored it and Republican Sen. Stephen Saland whoprovided the pivotal vote. But Lieutenant Gov. Robert Duffy,presiding of the Senate, repeatedly cut off Democratic Sen. RubenDiaz Sr., a minister who led the opposition to the bill. Diazsought to persuade his colleagues to vote "no."The lawsuit also claims that promises of campaign contributionswere made to Republican senators who voted for the bill.Financial filings with the state Board of Elections July 15showed Cuomo and the four Republican senators who voted for gaymarriage received large campaign donations from groups andindividuals who pushed for the legalization of gay marriage.