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New State Law Conforms Estate Planning & Surrogate Court with 2011 Marriage Equality Act

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Governor Cuomo yesterday (October 29) signed legislation conforming the state’s laws in estate planning and surrogate’s court procedures to the 2011 Marriage Equality Act.

(Gov. Cuomo)

The new legislation removes phrases like “husband/wife” within the Estates, Powers and Trusts Law and replaces them with “spouses, husbands or wives.”

As for the Surrogate’s Court Procedure Act, the phrase “father and mother” is replaced with “parents” to recognize both same-sex and different-sex parents.

The law goes into effect immediately.

It builds upon the Marriage Equality Act of 2011, which requires marriages of same-sex and different-sex couples to be treated equally in all respects under the law.

“Marriage equality is about dignity and respect for the LGBTQ community, which is why New York was the first big state in the nation to get it done,” Governor Cuomo said. “With this measure we’re ensuring every law on our books, no matter how technical, is reflective of the fact that families sometimes have two dads or two moms or two husbands or two wives – and we celebrate that diversity because it’s what makes New York who we are.”


Senator Brad Hoylman:

“With today’s signature of our legislation (S.300/A.5604), Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature reaffirm our historic leadership on marriage equality. It’s a shame that it took eight years for the State Senate to consider this bill, but thanks to Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins, issues of fairness and decency towards LGBTQ New Yorkers are now firmly on the front-burner in our chamber.

As the only openly-LGBTQ member of the Senate, I’m grateful to Governor Cuomo for his continued support of our community, Majority Leader Stewart-Cousins and my Senate colleagues, and Assembly sponsor Daniel O’Donnell, who passed the original legislation signed by the Governor in 2011 guaranteeing couples like my husband and me our rights under the law.”

Assembly Member Daniel J. O’Donnell:

“The signing of this bill represents my husband and I finally being fully recognized by New York State as a same-sex couple. Seven years ago when we married, John and I were so happy we didn’t even realize that on our license I was listed as the wife.

I’ll be honest – it was fun while it lasted – but I’m glad that Senator Hoylman and I were able to come together to correct the record for our families and so many others around the state, and I thank the Governor for signing this legislation today.”

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