Hispanic National Bar Association Supports Marriage Equality Legislation in New York

Washington, DC— Last month, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo met with prominent gay-rights activists in Albany to develop a strategy for passage of same sex marriage legislation in New York State this year.  The Hispanic National Bar Association (“HNBA”) fully supports marriage equality legislation in New York State, and urges New York legislators to vote in favor of it.  The HNBA co-sponsored a resolution of the American Bar Association (“ABA”), which urged states “to eliminate all of their legal barriers to civil marriage between two persons of the same sex who are otherwise eligible to marry.” (ABA Resolution No. 111).  The ABA resolution found that excluding same-sex couples from the right to marry has the practical impact of denying them and their children rights under state and federal law.  Some examples include the ability to make health care decisions for one’s spouse, the right to direct the remains of a deceased spouse and inherit from his or her estate absent a will, and being able to provide health insurance for one’s spouse.  “The HNBA stands proudly with the ABA on advocating for marriage equality to ensure that the rule of law applies equally,” said Diana Sen, President of the HNBA.

“When two people have committed to spend their lives together as a couple, to share a home, raise a family and build a life together, they should have the same rights, responsibilities and respect, whether they are of the same sex or opposite sex,” said Robert Maldonado, Chair of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Section of the HNBA.  He added, that the HNBA urges New York State to take the lead for marriage equality.  In 2005, the New York State Bar Association adopted a comprehensive report which documents the numerous specific rights and benefits enjoyed only by married couples.  In addition to the tangible harms, same sex couples and their children are stigmatized by being deemed unworthy to marry.