Legal Rights of Same-Sex Marriage
“No union is more profound than marriage, for it embodies the highest ideals of love, fidelity, devotion, sacrifice, and family… It would misunderstand these men and women to say they disrespect the idea of marriage. Their plea is that they do respect it, respect it so deeply that they seek to find its fulfillment for themselves. Their hope is not to be condemned to live in loneliness, excluded from one of civilization’s oldest institutions. They ask for equal dignity in the eyes of the law. The Constitution grants them that right.” – Justice Anthony Kennedy
In 2015, the U.S. Supreme Court made it unconstitutional for states to deny legal recognition of a marriage between same-sex couples. The decision in Obergefell v. Hodges legalized gay marriage nationwide, including in the 14 states where it was not yet legal. Although New York’s Marriage Equality Act had been in effect for several years prior, uniform recognition across the country was essential to avoid potential problems for couples that, for example, traveled interstate, had holdings in states other than New York where their marriage was treated differently under the law or maintained a second or third residence elsewhere.
Family Planning – although not exclusive to LGBTQ families – is often an essential service for our LGBTQ clients, whether married or unmarried. Also, because many couples have been together for far longer than the legal right conferred on them to be married, Gay and Lesbian Divorces often present with a host of additional questions and legal issues that factor into the proceedings.
Quatela Chimeri has a long-standing reputation for defending the rights and dignity of the LGBTQ community. We have a distinctive understanding and compassion for advocating the rights of those who are in same-sex relationships or marriages.
Equality Under New York Law
Even with equal recognition under New York State law in most areas, members of the LGBTQ community face many complex issues specific to the community. The careful crafting of documents to assist in the Dissolution of Non-Married LGBTQ families, Domestic Partnership Agreements, Cohabitation Agreements, Prenuptial Agreements, and Preconception Agreements and Family Planning require a broader understanding of the law, as well as a fundamentally personal vantage point possessed by lead attorney at QC.
Partner Christopher J. Chimeri, as a part of our appellate practice, has successfully litigated on behalf of numerous Gay and Lesbian parents to allow the estranged partner of a biological parent to seek custody and visitation rights, including arguing in the highest court in New York, the Court of Appeals, which, in Mr. Chimeri’s case, expanded the definition of a parent in the Domestic Relations Law as a result of the appeal.