New York State to Recognize Canadian Marriages of Same-Sex Couples

TORONTO—Yesterday the New York State and Local Retirement System announced it will treat Canadian marriages of same-sex couples the same as any other marriage for purposes of retirement benefits and obligations. The decision was communicated in a letter dated October 8 from the state Comptroller to Mark Daigneault, a state employee who wrote in September asking how getting married in Canada would affect retirement benefits for him, his same-sex partner and their two children. (see Daigneault’s letter at


In state Comptroller Hevesi’s letter, he tells Daigneault, “Based on current law, the Retirement System will recognize a same-sex Canadian marriage in the same manner as an opposite-sex New York marriage, under the principle of comity. That principle has been legal practice pursuant to New York Court of Appeals rulings for many years.”


“Everyone deserves to have their marriages recognized, both at home and abroad,” said Laurie Arron, of Canadians for Equal Marriage. “This is good news for the thousands of same-sex couples who have married in Canada. The decision of New York State to recognize Canadian marriages of same-sex couples demonstrates the increasing acceptance of our marriages. The legal principle that jurisdictions recognize each others’ validly performed marriages is well established, and there’s no reason the law should applied differently to same-sex couples.”


“Same-sex couples who reside in New York now have a clear incentive to marry in Canada,” said Cicely McWilliam, of Canadians for Equal Marriage. “The economic impact of all those couples traveling to Canada and having their weddings here will be significant. Being a beacon of equality pays economic dividends.”


A survey released July 1 by the Centre for Research and Information on Canada and Environics found that the number of Canadians agreeing that gays and lesbians should be allowed to get married has increased. Currently, 57% agree, the highest level since CRIC first asked the question two years ago. The number disagreeing currently stands at 38%. (see New Canada survey at


For more info:
Laurie Arron, Canadians for Equal Marriage,
416-928-1238 (o), 416-839-7178 (c)
Cicely McWilliam, Canadians for Equal Marriage,