“A New York State judge in Manhattan ruled yesterday (Feb. 4, 2005) that a state law that effectively denied gay couples the right to marry violated the state Constitution, a decision that raised the possibility that the city would begin issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples as soon as next month.
The ruling, by Justice Doris Ling-Cohan, was the first on the state level to side with proponents of gay marriage. In her 62-page decision, she wrote that the state’s Domestic Relations Law, which dates to 1909 and limits marriage to unions between opposite-sex couples, deprived gay couples of equal protection and due process rights under the state Constitution.
She likened the law to those that once barred interracial marriages and said that words currently used in defining legal marriages – husband and wife, groom and bride – ‘shall be construed to apply equally to either men or women.'”