New York Governor David Paterson is directing state agencies to recognize same-sex marriages legally performed in other states and countries, though the practice is not legal in New York.
The directive issued earlier this month orders agencies, such as those that regulate health care and insurance, to update their rules to accommodate gay couples.
Paterson's office based the order on a February state court ruling that said New York must recognize the marriage of a woman and her female partner who wed in Canada.
The directive may soon apply to same-sex couples who marry in California, after that state's Supreme Court overturned a ban on gay marriage. Gay couples will be allowed to marry in California starting in mid-June, unless the state's high court grants a stay on the ruling.
California's law grants marriage licenses to out-of-state couples, unlike Massachusetts, the only other U.S. state where gay marriage is legal.
Some information for this report was provided by AP.