On May 14, 2008, Governor David A. Paterson of New York instructed all state agencies to revise policies and regulations to recognize marriages of same-sex couples performed in other countries or in states like Massachusetts and California.
This means that married same-sex couples in New York State will be treated just like other couples in terms of state services, benefits and obligations. For example, same-sex spouses are eligible for state-sponsored health benefits and must be treated no different from other spouses when it comes to getting vehicle registrations and dealing with government agencies.
This directive, issued by the governor’s legal counsel, follows victories in Lambda Legal cases (Godfrey v. Spano, Godfrey v. Hevesi and Lewis v. NYS DCS), and a victory in a case brought by the New York Civil Liberties Union (Martinez). These cases reaffirmed that out-of-state marriages are recognized under New York laws and established that the marriages of same-sex couples would be treated no differently than other marriages.
However, marriage equality has not yet been achieved: New York still does not allow same-sex couples to get legally married within its borders. For this to happen, the state legislature and the governor must change the law.