Although it’s comparatively rare, many Americans choose to have their wedding officiated not by a member of the clergy but by a judge, whether it’s because they want to get married quickly, they’re not religious, or for similar reasons. Usually such weddings are officiated by a county or state judge, but in New York, a handful of federal judges, in specific circumstances, can also perform weddings.
Senate Bill S6330A sought to change that, effectively allowing all federal judges, whether they work in New York or not, to solemnize marriages in the Empire State. The bill passed through both chambers of New York’s legislature with wide bipartisan support. With only one No vote in the Senate and two No votes in the House, it passed without any significant controversy. Both chambers are Democrat-controlled.
However, once the bill got to Cuomo’s desk, he vetoed it. Specifically, he vetoed it because federal judges are appointed by the president, which means that at least some federal judges who would theoretically officiate marriages in New York were appointed by Donald Trump. And for Cuomo, that won’t do.
“I cannot in good conscience support legislation that would authorize such actions by federal judges who are appointed by this federal administration,” Cuomo said, in announcing his veto of the bill.
He then went on to explain why he used his veto pen.
“President Trump does not embody who we are as New Yorkers. The cornerstones that built our great state are diversity, tolerance and inclusion. Based on these reasons, I must veto this bill,” he said.
Democratic state Sen. Liz Krueger, who sponsored the bill, said that she, too, is no fan of the judges that Donald Trump has been appointing. Yet since the governor, members of the legislature, and indeed, anyone who pays a $25 fee to get “ordained” online can perform marriages in New York, she didn’t think it was a big deal to formally extend that power to federal judges, regardless of who appointed them, she said.
“I didn’t consider this to be a major issue,” she said.
In New York, a governor’s veto can be overturned by a two-thirds majority vote in both legislative chambers. Whether a vote will be held in either chamber to override Cuomo’s veto is not certain, as of this writing.