New York’s Gay Marriage Provision To Set Off Firestorm?

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Bravo to Governor Patterson for saying New York should recognize gay marriages from other states, but this has obviously made A LOT of social conservatives angry and they’re not going down without a fight.

First, Patterson’s reasoning…

Paterson issued a memo earlier this month saying that gay New Yorkers who marry where it is legal will have the right to share family health care plans, receive tax breaks by filing jointly, enjoy stronger adoption rights and inherit property.

He cited a February ruling in a New York Appellate Division court in which the judges determined there is no legal impediment in New York to the recognition of a same-sex marriage. […]

“We have a time-held and time-tested tradition honoring those marital rights,” Paterson said. “I am taking the same approach that this state always has with respect to out-of-state or marriages conducted in foreign governments being recognized here in the state of New York. I am following the law.”

And now the other side…

“The definition of marriage predates recorded history,” said New York State Catholic Conference Executive Director Richard E. Barnes. “No single politician or court or legislature should attempt to redefine the very building block of our society in a way that alters its entire meaning and purpose.” […]

Earlier Thursday, state Senate Republican Majority Leader Joseph Bruno, who opposes gay marriage, questioned the constitutionality of Paterson’s action but said he hadn’t yet seen the memo.

Bruno said the state’s highest court has found gay marriage isn’t legal within the state.

Is what Patterson did constitutionally unsound? After all, does New York have anything in its state constitution that says a marriage is between a man and a woman? If so, I can see his opponents’ point, but if not they really don’t seem to have a leg to stand on.

Anybody smarter than me wanna help out with this?