Though same-sex couples have some benefits in New York, including state employee benefits and hospital and nursing-home visitation rights, married couples are entitled to hundreds of additional legal benefits.
This discrepancy has been one reason New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has vigorously supported the same-sex marriage bill since he was elected last November.
"For too long, same-sex couples have been denied the freedom to marry, as well as hundreds of rights that other New Yorkers take for granted,” Governor Cuomo said last Tuesday at the introduction of the same-sex marriage bill in the state legislature.
Marriage benefits include pensions, inheritance, adoption and parenting rights, and spousal tax rates. Obligations include certain financial disclosures and the duty to pay child support.
Advocates say that without marriage protections gay couples face a range of practical and financial complications.
“This is something that’s not only wrenching to the heart,” says Christian Berle, deputy executive director of the Log Cabin Republicans, who lobbied in favor of the gay-marriage law. “It’s also wrenching to the pocketbook.”