Marriage Equality -- The Journey

This blog will hopefully chronicle our quest for recognition of our marriage by my employer, the state, and the nation. For a peek into my life other than this lawsuit, check out my personal blog at http://milindoe.blogspot.com

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Arguments for Summary Judgment

Well, our case was argued to a judge on Thursday, July 13th, in a motion for summary judgment. The facts are not in dispute, just the law.

So the county attorney tells the judge that, while we were married in Canada, we don't have a "real" Canadian marriage because we don't actually live in Canada.

With that in mind, I'm thinking I shouldn't have had to pay all that money for a divorce in this country because my ex and I were married in Okinawa, Japan and, after all, since we weren't actually LIVING there, it wasn't a real Japanese marriage anyway. His argument continued to be that a) we don't have a "real" marriage and b) since the Court of Appeals ruling last week, the case had no business even being heard. This guy is really a putz!

Here's the news article (which I've chopped up to eliminate my own name, Lisa's name, and my employer's name).

(July 14, 2006) — A judge reserved decision Thursday on a lawsuit brought by a [my employer] employee over the extension of health care benefits to her lesbian partner.

After listening to arguments from lawyers on both sides, state Supreme Court Justice [judge's name] said he'll issue a written decision in a lawsuit filed 18 months ago against the college by [me].

The lawsuit, which argues that [employer] discriminated against [me] based on her gender because it refused benefits to the female partner she was married to, while routinely giving health benefits to heterosexual married couples, is the first of its kind filed in [my] County.

[Lisa and I] were married in Canada in 2004, three years after their relationship was formalized in a civil union in Vermont.

In 2004, [I] sought to have [Lisa] included in her health care coverage. [Employer], however, said they couldn't grant the request because the [employer's] contract with the Civil Service Employees Association, which covers [me], didn't address benefits for domestic partners.

[I] sued in January 2005. But a new contract between the [employer] and the union, which took effect Jan. 1, 2006, extended benefits to employees' same-sex partners.

Lawyer [my lawyer], who represents [me] in a lawsuit brought on her behalf by the New York Civil Liberties Union, asked [the judge] for a judgment that New York recognizes the validity of marriages solemnized in other countries.

Although the state Court of Appeals ruled July 6 that the state constitution provides no rights for same-sex couples to marry, [my lawyer] said that ruling doesn't block [the judge] from finding that the college should have recognized the Canadian marriage.

[Putz lawyer], a deputy county attorney, said [employer] acted on a good-faith basis because coverage to same-sex partners wasn't in the union contract. The issue now is moot, he said, because the new contract allows coverage.



What has been hammered and hammered and hammered into this putz's head (seemingly to no avail) is that the previous contract contained NO LANGUAGE that would enable ANY spouse (same or opposite gender) to be placed on the benefits package, yet the employer routinely offered those benefits to opposite gendered married couples as a matter of policy. The discrimination entered when they refused to allow it for me, stating that the contract didn't allow it, even though they conceded that the contract didn't specifically allow it for opposite gendered spouses, either.

Later they tried to hide behind DOMA, which is for federal benefits only.

I think that this judge will rule against us, as he's ultra conservative, although his body language changed from folded arms sitting back in his chair, to leaning forward in his chair and engaging my lawyer in conversation and points of law. It's sort of what we expect and sort of what we've been hoping for, so that the case can make it to the state level (same level that issued such a terrible ruling last week).

And, given the mindset by the 4 judges that voted against marriage equality because of the need to procreate, we can argue that I've been there, done that, and have done my part in procreation for this nation and that, like the 58 year old woman that works for me who recently remarried, I should have the same rights to marry after having raised my children as she does, since we're both post-menopausal and can't bear children any more either. (By the way, Lisa is medically unable to bear children, so does that mean she couldn't marry a man, too?)

We expect a ruling within the next couple of weeks, I guess.

When it comes in, I'll post it here.


      

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