senate Bill S7182

Signed By Governor
2013-2014 Legislative Session

Relates to the solemnization of marriage by certain officials on an Indian reservation

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Archive: Last Bill Status Via A9315 - Signed by Governor


  • Introduced
  • In Committee
  • On Floor Calendar
    • Passed Senate
    • Passed Assembly
  • Delivered to Governor
  • Signed by Governor

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Actions

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Assembly Actions - Lowercase
Senate Actions - UPPERCASE
Nov 21, 2014 signed chap.450
Nov 10, 2014 delivered to governor
Jun 18, 2014 returned to assembly
passed senate
3rd reading cal.1538
substituted for s7182
Jun 18, 2014 substituted by a9315
ordered to third reading cal.1538
committee discharged and committed to rules
May 02, 2014 referred to judiciary

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Co-Sponsors

S7182 - Bill Details

See Assembly Version of this Bill:
A9315
Law Section:
Domestic Relations Law
Laws Affected:
Amd §11, Dom Rel L; amd §4, Indian L

S7182 - Bill Texts

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Provides that a judge or peacemaker judge of any Indian tribal court, a chief, a headman, or any member of any tribal body of any nation, tribe or band of Indians in this state, duly designated for purpose of officiating at marriages, may solemnize a marriage.

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BILL NUMBER:S7182

TITLE OF BILL: An act to amend the domestic relations law and the
Indian law, in relation to solemnization of marriage by certain
officials on an Indian reservation

This measure is being introduced at the request of the Office of Court
Administration upon the request of the New York Federal-State Tribal
Courts and Indian Nations Justice Forum. It would amend section 11 of
the Domestic Relations Law by adding a new subdivision three-a and
amending subdivision six and section 4 of the Indian Law to authorize
tribal judges and various other tribal officials to solemnize
marriages on Indian lands.

Section 11 of the Domestic Relations Law permits leaders of various
Societies for Ethical Culture, along with members of the clergy, to
solemnize marriages. This, of course, is in addition to a broad range
of Federal, State and local government officials also permitted to
solemnize marriages. By contrast, the only civil Indian authorities
who are permitted to solemnize marriages are Peacemakers, presumably
referencing only the Peacemakers of the Seneca Nation of Indians, as
previously mentioned in the statutory text. Indian Law § 4. No other
Indian official enjoys authority to solemnize marriages.* Especially
in light of the evident willingness of the State to confer marriage
authority upon such an extensive array of religious, quasi-religious
and public leaders and officials, this exclusion of most tribal
authorities makes little sense. It is inconsistent with public policy,
short-sighted and at odds with tribal custom and heritage, which place
no less responsibility upon Indian authorities than that vested in
non-Indian leaders who are granted marriage authority.

Enactment of this measure is important on two levels. It will
recognize and acknowledge the respect that the tribal authorities who
are the subject of this measure enjoy within both Indian and
non-Indian communities. Perhaps more importantly, it also will
underscore State government's efforts to encourage respect for Indian
institutions.

This measure, which would take effect immediately, will have no fiscal
impact.

Legislative History:

None. New Proposal.

* Op. AG 27 (1971). Marriages performed according to tribal custom
where one or both parties are Indians are valid if religious in origin
and performed in accordance with religious tradition. Other,
non-religious marriages performed by tribal authorities would be
subject to "serious doubt" as to their validity.

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                    S T A T E   O F   N E W   Y O R K
________________________________________________________________________

                                  7182

                            I N  S E N A T E

                               May 2, 2014
                               ___________

Introduced by Sen. LITTLE -- (at request of the Office of Court Adminis-
  tration)  --  read  twice  and ordered printed, and when printed to be
  committed to the Committee on Judiciary

AN ACT to amend the domestic  relations  law  and  the  Indian  law,  in
  relation to solemnization of marriage by certain officials on an Indi-
  an reservation

  THE  PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, REPRESENTED IN SENATE AND ASSEM-
BLY, DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS:

  Section 1. Section 11 of the domestic  relations  law  is  amended  by
adding a new subdivision 3-a to read as follows:
  3-A.  A JUDGE OR PEACEMAKER JUDGE OF ANY INDIAN TRIBAL COURT, A CHIEF,
A HEADMAN, OR ANY MEMBER OF ANY TRIBAL COUNCIL OR OTHER  GOVERNING  BODY
OF ANY NATION, TRIBE OR BAND OF INDIANS IN THIS STATE DULY DESIGNATED BY
SUCH  BODY  FOR  THE  PURPOSE  OF OFFICIATING AT MARRIAGES, OR ANY OTHER
PERSONS DULY DESIGNATED BY SUCH BODY, IN KEEPING WITH  THE  CULTURE  AND
TRADITIONS  OF  ANY SUCH NATION, TRIBE OR BAND OF INDIANS IN THIS STATE,
TO OFFICIATE AT MARRIAGES.
  S 2. Subdivision 6 of section 11 of the  domestic  relations  law,  as
amended  by  chapter  39  of  the  laws  of  1991, is amended to read as
follows:
  6. Notwithstanding any other provisions of this article to the contra-
ry no marriage shall be solemnized by a public officer specified in this
section, other than a judge of a federal district court for  the  north-
ern,  southern,  eastern or western district of New York, a judge of the
United States court of international trade, a federal administrative law
judge presiding in this state, a judge or justice of the  unified  court
system  of this [State] STATE, a housing judge of the civil court of the
city of New York, or a retired judge or justice  of  the  unified  court
system  or a retired housing judge of the civil court certified pursuant
to paragraph (k) of subdivision two of section two hundred twelve of the
judiciary law, NOR BY  ANY  OF  THE  PERSONS  SPECIFIED  IN  SUBDIVISION
THREE-A  OF  THIS SECTION, outside the territorial jurisdiction in which
he or she was elected [or], appointed OR DULY DESIGNATED.  Such a public

 EXPLANATION--Matter in ITALICS (underscored) is new; matter in brackets
                      [ ] is old law to be omitted.
                                                           LBD13654-01-4

S. 7182                             2

officer, however, elected or appointed within the city of New  York  may
solemnize a marriage anywhere within such city.
  S  3.  Section  4  of the Indian law, as amended by chapter 229 of the
laws of 1957 and as renumbered by chapter 174 of the laws  of  2013,  is
amended to read as follows:
  S  4.  Marriage  and  divorce.  The  laws of the state relating to the
capacity to contract marriage, the solemnization of marriage, the annul-
ment of the marriage contract, and divorce, are applicable  to  Indians;
and subject to the jurisdiction of the peacemakers' courts of the Seneca
nation  to  grant  divorces,  the same courts shall have jurisdiction of
actions arising thereunder. But Indians who have  heretofore  [contract]
CONTRACTED  marriage  according to the Indian custom or usage, and shall
cohabit as husband and wife, shall be deemed lawfully married.  [Indian]
AS PROVIDED BY SUBDIVISION THREE-A OF SECTION  ELEVEN  OF  THE  DOMESTIC
RELATIONS  LAW, marriages may be solemnized by [peacemakers within their
jurisdiction with the same force and effect  as  by  a  justice  of  the
peace]  A JUDGE OR PEACEMAKER JUDGE OF ANY INDIAN TRIBAL COURT, A CHIEF,
A HEADMAN, OR ANY MEMBER OF ANY TRIBAL COUNCIL OR OTHER  GOVERNING  BODY
OF ANY NATION, TRIBE OR BAND OF INDIANS IN THIS STATE DULY DESIGNATED BY
SUCH BODY FOR THAT PURPOSE, OR ANY OTHER PERSONS DULY DESIGNATED BY SUCH
BODY,  IN  KEEPING  WITH  THE CULTURE AND TRADITIONS OF ANY SUCH NATION,
TRIBE OR BAND OF INDIANS IN THIS STATE, TO OFFICIATE AT MARRIAGES.
  S 4. This act shall take effect immediately.

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