Statement By Attorney General Eliot Spitzer Regarding Same Sex Wedding Ceremonies In New Paltz

I am pleased that New Paltz Mayor Jason West has agreed to postpone the weddings that were scheduled to occur in New Paltz tomorrow.

Mayor West believes strongly in this issue, and is committed to continuing his support for same sex marriages. At the same time, Mayor West understands his duties as a public official, and that those who are elected to office have a responsibility to demonstrate, through words and actions, a commitment to upholding the law.

My staff has been in discussions with the attorneys for Mayor West in an effort to resolve this matter, and those discussions will be continuing next week. In the interim, Mayor West has agreed not to perform any same sex wedding ceremonies while these discussions are ongoing, and we have jointly asked the Court for a one-week adjournment of the injunction motion that was filed by a private party on Wednesday. Hopefully we will be able to reach a solution that is acceptable to all involved.

In light of this agreement, there clearly is no immediate irreparable harm. Mayor West will not be solemnizing marriages during the next week.

Should the judge decide to address the legal issues in this case, the opinion that I issued on Wednesday, March 3 reflects my conclusion that solemnization of same-sex marriages in the absence of license is not authorized by the Domestic Relations Law.

I strongly urge other officials who might be considering solemnizing marriages to refrain from doing so.