Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Gay Marriage Opponents In New York File Suit Claiming State Violated Law In Debating Measure

New Yorkers for Constitutional Freedom, which filed suit in state court, claims that the State Senate violated the Open Meetings Law while debating same-sex marriage, is going to find a real tough case ahead of it. They've seriously misread the state law on point, a law that was enacted specifically because Fred Dicker of the New York Post argued for access more than 25 years ago.
Freeman explained that the Open Meetings Law had, from its original passage, an exemption for “deliberations of political committees, conferences and caucuses.” But this was unclear: courts ruled that it should be interpreted to apply narrowly to matters of party business, Freeman said. In Albany, a young New York Post reporter named Fred Dicker wrote a letter to Assembly Speaker Stanley Fink, a Democrat, requesting access to the Democratic party conferences that occurred on a near-daily basis when the legislature was in session.

“I even signed an affidavit,” Dicker told me by phone. “After we told them we were going to sue them, they wrote an exemption.”

Indeed, as Freeman noted, the law was amended to add a second section, giving explicit, blanket authority for legislative conferences in Albany and around the state “to discuss anything including a matter of public business, notwithstanding the member of staff or guests.”
The suit doesn't seek to overturn the outcome - that gays have the right to marry in the state, but claim that the State Legislature didn't follow state law in limiting debate and other procedural acts.

The problem is that the suit seriously misreads state law and is baseless.

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