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Dickerson v. Thompson

December 9, 2010

A woman became a victim of domestic violence after entering into a civil union in Vermont. She came to us when she was told that in order to dissolve her civil union she would have to move to Vermont and became a resident of the state for one year; there was no established procedure in New York State to dissolve a civil union. In the judge’s view, New York public policy did not legally recognize any same-sex relationships. The court claimed it lacked the subject matter jurisdiction.

Empire Justice represented the woman and the appellate court agreed with our legal analysis.   The court found that the trial court did possess the required subject matter jurisdiction to entertain the case. The court further held that New York’s public policy recognizes a wide variety of same-sex relationships and legal reciprocity may also require recognition of a civil union as well. The case was then remanded back to the trial court for further proceedings.  This case has state and national implications. The case might well allow New York residents to have their out-of-state civil union dissolutions adjudicated in New York. Since the ruling, Empire Justice Center has received countless requests for technical assistance from attorneys seeking to help clients both in New York and outside of the state.


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