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Gay Marriage Foes File Lawsuit to Overturn Wedding Law in New York

A New York political lobbying organization founded by a group of pastors sued to overturn the state’s same-sex marriage law, which took effect yesterday.

New Yorkers for Constitutional Freedoms, founded in 1982 by a group of pastors, claims the state senate violated open- meetings laws and suspended normal voting procedures to keep opposition senators from speaking before passing the Marriage Equality Act June 24. It wants the law declared null and void.

The suit seeks “to preserve not only marriage as the union of one woman to one man, but also our constitutional liberties by acting as a check on an out-of-control political process that was willing to pass a bill regardless of how many laws and rules it violated,” according to the complaint.

The suit was filed in state court in Geneseo in Livingston County.

The suit also claims senate procedures require a bill be sent to appropriate committees prior to being placed before the full senate for a vote and that Gov. Andrew Cuomo violated a mandated three-day review period before the vote.

‘Without Merit’

“The plaintiffs lack a basic understanding of the laws of the state of New York,” Josh Vlasto, spokesman for Cuomo, said in an e-mail. “The suit is without merit.”

The suit names the state Senate and state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman as defendants. Schneiderman declined to comment on the lawsuit through his spokesman, Danny Kanner. Scott Reif, a spokesman for State Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos, a Republican from Rockville Centre on suburban Long Island, declined to comment in an e-mail.

The suit also notes that Mayor Michael Bloomberg pledged to financially contribute to the re-election campaigns of Republican Senators who voted in favor of the act and that he donated $41,200 to four such Republican senators.

The Bloomberg administration declined to comment on the lawsuit, said the mayor’s spokesman, Stu Loeser.

The mayor is the founder and majority owner of Bloomberg News parent company Bloomberg LP.

The suit also names as a defendant the state’s Health Department, which it says is responsible for adopting rules and regulations for carrying out the state’s marriage laws.

Jeffrey Gordon, a spokesman for the health department, couldn’t immediately be reached for comment.

The case is New Yorkers for Constitutional Freedoms v. New York State Senate, 807/2011, New York state Supreme Court, Livingston County.

To contact the reporters on this story: Karen Freifeld in New York at kfreifeld@bloomberg.net; Esme E. Deprez in New York at edeprez@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Michael Hytha at mhytha@bloomberg.net; Mark Tannenbaum at mtannen@bloomberg.net.

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