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New Paltz, New York enters same-sex marriage debate
A small New York college town may soon become the center of debate over same-sex marriages.
New Paltz Mayor Jason West started marrying gay couples Friday.
West calls it a moral obligation and contends that New York State law says a marriage only needs to be made solemn for it to be legal.
There is no reference to the gender of the people involved.
West says he's not doing anything wrong.
"If you think abiding by the wording of the New York State laws is finding a loophole, perhaps, yes. As far as I’m concerned, I am upholding the Constitution and obeying the laws of this state as I see them,” said West.
The State Health Department disagrees.
A spokesman for the department says same-sex marriage licenses are not recognized under state law and that any clerk issuing one will be penalized.
In the meantime, Syracuse Mayor Matt Driscoll says he will not issue same-sex licenses.
The Mayor has the authority to perform marriages within the city limits but says he won't without a valid New York State marriage license, which can only be given by the City Clerk.
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