New York State Comptroller Alan Hevesi said he was only following the law when he ruled that New York's retirement fund for government employees will recognize same-sex marriages performed in Canada for the purposes of retirement benefits, just as it does for heterosexual marriages. That may be, but it was a brave and correct stand nonetheless.
Advocates and opponents of same-sex marriage said the decision is another step toward legalizing those relationships performed in New York. We hope so.
The decision, which will provide benefits to gay couples that now are available only to surviving spouses, is a matter of basic fairness. Gays and lesbians in legal marriages performed elsewhere ought to have the security from the state pension system that other married couples have. The decision by the comptroller, who controls the state's $115 billion pension fund, came in response to a question from a state employee about how his same-sex marriage in Canada would affect his pension benefits. The narrow answer applied only to same-sex marriages performed in Canada.
As could have been predicted, the decision has drawn the fire of those opposed to same-sex marriages. Their objections are not persuasive. This page has longed believed that same-sex couples in New York should have the same rights as heterosexual couples. The state's pension fund is a good place to start.