Lawsuit Seeks to Invalidate New Paltz's Same-sex "Marriages"

( [email protected] ) Jun 24, 2004 10:01 PM EDT

Liberty Counsel filed a lawsuit on June 24 seeking to invalidate some 180 same-sex "marriages" already performed in the Village of New Paltz and to bar all Village officials from performing future same-sex "marriages."

New York's Ulster County Supreme Court Justice E. Michael Kavanagh issued a Temporary Restraining Order against all officials of the Village of New Paltz following the lawsuit, prohibiting them from solemnizing same-sex "marriages". A court hearing has been set for July 19.

Although Justice Kavanaghh issued a permanent injunction against New Paltz Mayor Jason West on June 7, barring him from performing same-sex "marriages", West along with members of the Village Board then appointed Board Trustees Rebecca Rotzler and Julia Walsh as "marriage officers" to continue solemnizing marriages for same-sex couples.

It's the broadest legal challenge yet to same-sex weddings that have been performed in New Paltz since Mayor Jason West first officiated over marriages in February, according to the Associated Press.

New York law says it illegal to marry same-sex couples, according to Rena Lindevaldsen, Senior Litigation Counsel for Liberty Counsel.

“The disregard for the law exhibited by the Village officials in the face of Judge Kavanagh’s permanent Order against Mayor West is outrageous," said Lindevaldsen who will be representing Robert (Bob) Hebel, a member of the New Paltz Board of Trustees, alongside President and General Counsel of Liberty Counsel Mathew D. Staver. "The Village officials have an obligation to uphold the laws of New York. Justice Kavanagh unequivocally found that Mayor West violated the law in solemnizing same-sex ‘marriages.’ Rebecca Rotzler and Julia Walsh knowingly and deliberately broke the law.”

“The Village Officials are not above the law, whether they agree with the law or not," she said.