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National News
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GORE SUPPORTS SAME-SEX MARRIAGE
Former U.S. Vice President Al Gore came out in support of same-sex marriage January 17.

In a video posted at Current.com, Gore said: "I think it's wrong for the government to discriminate against people because of that person's sexual orientation. I think that Gay men and women ought to have the same rights as heterosexual men and women to make contracts, to have hospital-visiting rights and to join together in marriage, and I don't understand why it is considered by some people to be a threat to heterosexual marriage to allow it by Gays and Lesbians."

He suggested that banning same-sex marriage amounts to de facto promotion of promiscuity and its associated ills.

"Shouldn't we be promoting the kind of faithfulness and loyalty to one's partner regardless of sexual orientation?" Gore asked. "Because if you don't do that, then, to that extent, you're promoting promiscuity and you're promoting all the problems that can result from promiscuity.

"And the loyalty and love that two people feel for one another when they fall in love ought to be celebrated and encouraged, and shouldn't be prevented by any form of discrimination in the law."

LAMBDA TACKLES N.Y. CANADIAN-MARRIAGE RULING
In January 24 arguments before the Appellate Division of the New York Supreme Court, the Gay rights group Lambda Legal urged reversal of an earlier ruling that allowed a school district to refuse to recognize the Canadian marriage of New Yorkers Duke Funderburke and Brad Davis.

"In the midst of this lawsuit, the Department of Civil Service came into line with New York state law by changing its policy and recognizing Mr. Funderburke's marriage," said Susan Sommer, senior counsel at Lambda Legal. "The lower court's decision [is] out of sync with other court decisions on the issue and the policies of state and local government officials."

Funderburke was a teacher in the Uniondale Union Free School District in Nassau County for 25 years before retiring in 1986. He later married his partner in Ontario, requested that his husband be added to his retiree health plan, and was turned down.

Lambda filed suit for Funderburke in 2006, arguing that state law requires government entities to recognize valid marriages performed in other states or countries. The Supreme Court, which is not New York's top court, disagreed and Lambda appealed to the court's Appellate Division. In the meantime, the Department of Civil Service changed course and began offering benefits to same-sex spouses of public employees under the New York State Health Insurance Program, which leaves the earlier ruling at odds with current law and practice.

That ruling, therefore, must be "wiped from the lawbooks," Lambda said.

With assistance from Bill Kelley

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