As the strident ringing of the phone began, I made the decision to let it go to voice mail. It was clearly coming from outside the college, so I knew that, whoever it was, they’d likely leave a message.

The red light flashed on the phone, announcing the presence of a message, so I dailed into the voice mail system to retrieve it. “Pat, Jeff Wicks. Call me IMMEDIATELY!” Jeff is the lawyer handling my case.

As I prepared to call him back, the audible notification for the arrival of an email sounded, and I saw the little flashing window say “Pat, call me NOW!” I began dialing Jeff’s number and, as the call connected, a man poked his head in my door, asking me are you Pat M?” “Yes,” I replied. “You need to call Jeff Wicks, it’s an emergency.”

Jeff answered the phone — he doesn’t normally do that. “Pat! We won!” he shrieked.

The Appellate Court ruled, UNANIMOUSLY, that New York State must recognize our valid Canadian marriage.

Appeal from a judgment of the Supreme Court, Monroe County (Harold L. Galloway, J.), dated July 27, 2006 in an action for, inter alia, a declaratory judgment. The judgment granted defendants’ motion for summary judgment to the extent of granting judgment in favor of defendants declaring, inter alia, that plaintiff’s marriage to Lisa XXXXXXXXXX in the Province of Ontario, Canada, is not entitled to recognition in New York State and denied plaintiff’s cross motion for partial summary judgment.

It is hereby ORDERED that the judgment so appealed from is unanimously reversed on the law without costs, the motion is denied in its entirety, the cross motion is granted in part, and judgment is granted in favor of plaintiff as follows:

It is ADJUDGED and DECLARED that plaintiff’s marriage to Lisa XXXXXXXXXX in the Province of Ontario, Canada is entitled to recognition in New York State.

This…..is…..HUGE!

To read the decision in its entirety, click the link below.

martinezaddecision.pdf

News articles at:

***UPDATE:

I didn’t want to do a new blog entry, I want the words “VICTORY” to be prominent for another couple days or so.

We’re amazed at all that has happened in the past 16 hours. To think that yesterday I was looking forward to the weekend to rest up a bit, get ahead of what I think might be a cold developing, and watch the SuperBowl. At 3:00 yesterday afternoon, myrocked my world.

I’m grateful, however, that we had the house phone disconnected just a couple of weeks ago now. Not only does it keep the media wolves at bay, but it will certainly go a long way toward preventing the crazies from calling and giving us grief.

This news has spread throughout NY State (and the GLBTQ community nationwide) like wildfire. One comment on a blog I frequent said “Hear that? That’s the sound of DOMA swirling down the drain.” It has been picked up by the NY Times as well as a newspaper in Puerto Rico, one in New Zealand, and too many to count in Canada.

I slept fitfully for most of the night. I’m still a bit keyed up with the excitement from the ruling, but also a bit nervous about all the immediate tomorrows and what they’ll bring.

I also can’t help but think that we have a homophobe to thank for this — that being the director of HR who intially refused to recognize the marriage in the first place. Add to the list of people to thank are the legal counsel who gave the HR director a bum steer, as well as the lackluster case the defendants put together.

And what about that “defense?”

“They went to Canada as an end-around to existing NY state law.”

Well, DUH! But, how is that different than, say, the young couple who travels across state lines to marry WITHOUT parental consent because they’re not old enough in their own state to marry without that consent? If they’re a hetero couple, that marriage would be recognized, even though it, too, was an “end-around” to the existing marriage law.

“The marriage shouldn’t be recognized because they’re not even Canadian.”

WTF?

“This should be dismissed because of governmental immunity.”

Governmental immunity doesn’t grant carte blanche to government agencies to make arbitrary and discriminatory decisions though, does it?

Some friends of ours have begun preparations for a “celebratory” party. It may double as a fund-raiser to help oust a local Republican (state) Senator but, at least right now, it’s going to primarily be a huge celebration for ALL of us.

The reporter who interviewed me yesterday did a wonderful job of writing the “human” story behind this:

When Patricia Martinez and her newlywed spouse, Lisa Ann Golden, returned from Canada after their wedding in 2004, Martinez felt as if there was “a cloud over the marriage.”

The gay partners had wed in Canada but were returning to their home state, New York, which did not legally allow gay marriages.

On Friday, Martinez said, the cloud lifted. In a ruling hailed as historic by gay rights activists, an appellate court ruled Friday that New York must recognize same-sex marriages legally consecrated elsewhere.

This appears to be the first appellate ruling in the country mandating that a state must recognize the same-sex marriage of a couple legally wed elsewhere, according to officials with the New York Civil Liberties Union.

“Today I know the legal world looks at my marriage as valid, as something we’re not going to sweep under the rug, as something that doesn’t end,” said Martinez, a Chili resident who filed suit in 2005 to try to get her marriage legally blessed in New York. “Because we’re not going to go away.”

(…)

While the appellate ruling may be steeped in New York history, some gay rights activists hailed the decision Friday as one that could move the state closer to acceptance of gay marriage.

“It becomes really obvious that it’s incredibly archaic to allow some people marriage and not others,” said Christopher Hinesley, executive director of the Gay Alliance of Genesee Valley.

Donna Lieberman, executive director of the state New York Civil Liberties Union, said in a statement: “Congratulations to all same-sex couples validly married outside of New York state: You are now husband and husband, and wife and wife. Now we need to work toward a New York where you don’t have to cross state or country lines to get married.”

Wicks agreed that the ruling alters the landscape in New York.

(…)

Golden, 40, said Friday that she has never considered her marriage to Martinez anything but legitimate, but the appellate ruling was cause for celebration. “I think it’s a huge step for the same-sex community,” she said. Martinez, 52, said there are many practical benefits to the legal acceptance of her marriage, giving the couple no worries about the handling of household decisions common in heterosexual marriages.

“We take out loans together,” Martinez said. “We finance cars together.”

The ruling also helps ensure that the couple can make care-related decisions for each other without legal interference. Martinez suffers from multiple sclerosis, which has been in remission for 17 years.

But, mostly, Martinez said, the appellate ruling validates her belief that marriage is more than “a piece of paper.”

“You don’t get married without the intent of it being recognized. To me, marriage is the ultimate commitment.”

One of my former student aides, last night on IM said  “You’re going to be in our textbooks really soon!”  He’s currently attending school down in St. Augustine, FL and says “I am SO going to bring this up with my unity group!”

Hopefully the crazies won’t find my blog.  It’d be awful for us to have to watch them implode here, wouldn’t it?  :-)