Gov. David Paterson has told state agencies to recognize gay marriages performed where the unions are legal, including California and Massachusetts.
Agencies, including those governing insurance and healthcare, must immediately change policies and regulations to ensure "spouse," "husband" and "wife" are clearly understood to include gay couples, according to a memo sent this month from the governor's counsel.
Gay marriage is not legal in New York, and the state's highest court, the Court of Appeals, has said it can only be legalized by the Legislature. But the memo, based on a Feb. 1 New York Appellate Division court ruling, would recognize the marriages of New Yorkers who are legally wed elsewhere.