The American Bar Association's governing body Tuesday voted in favor of supporting same-sex marriage at the urging of 14 groups, including two New York bar associations. The measure, supported by the New York State Bar Association and the New York City Bar, calls for the elimination of state, territorial and tribal laws restricting marriage between same-sex partners. The ABA House of Delegates voted "overwhelmingly" in favor of the resolution at its annual meeting in San Francisco, said Stephen P. Younger, president of the state bar. "It's really a historic moment for the ABA," said Younger, a partner at Patterson Belknap Webb & Tyler.
The city bar, "as one of the original sponsors of the ABA's resolution," is "extremely gratified" to learn of its passage, said city bar president Samuel W. Seymour, a partner at Sullivan & Cromwell.
Outgoing ABA president Carolyn Lamm of White & Case and incoming president Stephen Zack of Boies, Schiller & Flexner spoke in favor of the measure. Leslie W. Jacobs, a partner with Thompson Hine in Cleveland and a former Ohio State Bar Association president, was the only lawyer to speak in opposition, saying "silence on an issue of political correctness is cowardice," according to the ABA Journal.
The adoption of the resolution came one week after U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker ruled that California's Proposition 8 ban on same-sex marriage was unconstitutional. The ABA previously in 2004 came out against the enactment of a constitutional amendment that would block states from recognizing same-sex marriage. The New York State Bar in 2009 adopted a resolution calling for same-sex marriage in New York.