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Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Victory! Same-Sex Couples and Their Families Will Be Protected From Domestic Violence Under Family Court Access Law

via Empire State Pride Agenda

The New York State Legislature has just unanimously passed a bill that allows domestic partners – including same-sex couples – access to the protections granted by Family Court. The bill is now expected to be signed into law by Governor Paterson, and as soon as it is, it will enable Family Court to give civil orders of protection to all victims of domestic violence, including unmarried committed couples and those in dating relationships.

This victory means that same-sex partners who were previously blocked from the Family Court because they didn’t have the ability to get married will now have equal access to protection from domestic violence.

Until now, New York has been one of the last states in the nation to protect same-sex couples against domestic violence. The Family Court access bill (S.8665/A.11707) gives access to important domestic violence protections, without a person having to initiate criminal court proceedings. These protections can involve, among other things, removing an abuser from the home and the use of social services to address the situation.

This long-overdue law has been in the works for two decades and has been passed by the Assembly by wide, bipartisan votes for many years, but this marks the first time that it has ever reached a floor vote in the Senate.

Now it's time to thank your Senator and Assemblymember for passing the Family Court access bill. To find your Senator and Assemblymember, click here. Call them and tell them thank you for supporting S.8665 / A.11701 and extending protections to all New Yorkers – including same-sex couples - against domestic violence.

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