N.Y. Judge Dissolves Civil Union

A state appeals panel decided yesterday that a judge in New York has the authority to end a civil union entered into in Vermont. The panel’s ruling was grounded on “equity” and legally dissolved the union of Audrey Juanita Dickerson and Sonya Denise Thompson.

This ruling reversed a declaration by Schenectatady Supreme Court Justice Vincent J. Reilly Jr. Justice Reilly held that though each woman could be freed from the rights and obligations of their union, he could not dissolve the union. He reasoned that the state Legislature has not specifically allowed the termination of civil unions.

The dissolution provisions in New York Domestic Relations Law §170 applies only to marriages entered into in New York or other states or countries, and not to civil unions.

Justice John A. Lahtinen explained his opinion in favor of permitting dissolution, “In light of the recently passed legislation, we cannot say that the majority’s granting the relief of dissolving the civil union is inappropriate.”

Read the full article: New York Law Journal

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