New York's governor has directed all state agencies to recognize same-sex marriages performed in other states and countries, the New York Times reports. Terms like "spouse," "husband," and "wife" will now legally apply to same-sex partners in state regulations concerning everything from income tax filings to fishing license applications. The directive is seen as a huge step on the way to legalizing gay marriage in the Empire State.
Gov. David Paterson has spoken out in favor of legalizing same-sex unions, but to do so would require a lengthy approval process in the state legislature. “We’ve done everything we can do on marriage legislatively at this point,” said a top adviser to the governor. “But there are tools in our tool kit on the executive side, and this is one.”