Judges lining up for marriage equality’s 1st day in NY

Judges lining up for marriage equality’s 1st day in NY

From the New York Times: As one of several dozen judges across the state who have volunteered to play an official role in marriage equality’s first day in New York state, Justice Thomas Raffaele is part of one of the most unusual judicial mobilizations in years. From Buffalo to the Bronx and pretty much everywhere else in New York, judges are signing up for rare Sunday duty.

If same-sex couples want to marry that Sunday, only judges would have the authority to dispense with the 24-hour waiting period required by law. And those judges could then officiate on the spot.

Another of the volunteer judges, Sherry Klein Heitler of State Supreme Court in Manhattan, said she was expecting something of a party at the city clerk’s office. “I think there will be a lot of people,” Justice Heitler said. “I think there will be a lot of emotion. I think there will be a lot of happy tears.”

Judge Richard B. Meyer of Essex County Court in Elizabethtown, N.Y., said he felt an obligation to help any couple trying to take advantage of their newly minted right.

“I think it’s important,” Judge Meyer said, “that people who have been waiting a long time to be married and who are anxious to do it have access to someone who is able to perform the ceremony on their time frame.”

In Rochester, Judge Joan S. Kohout said she had been thinking of the legal changes during her 23 years on the bench that enabled same-sex couples to adopt. As ideas about family have changed, she said, the families passing through her court have changed.

Judge Kohout volunteered, she said, because she saw the new marriage law as a further evolution. “I’m a Family Court judge — I’m a judge for families — and I saw this as a way for me to do my job,” she said.

Read more at the New York Times.