While I've always supported marriage, I've had issues with allowing it via judicial directive as our laws are currently written. Passing legislation that allows gay marriage is, in my opinion, the best way to avoid the thorny issues of constitutional interpretation and allow every New Yorker to receive the benefits derived from the vows of a life time commitment to another human being.
This directive is a step in that direction, but legislation should be passed in order to mute the objections of those who oppose gay marriage.
Some excerpts from an AP article:
Paterson issued a memo earlier this month saying that gay New Yorkers who marry where it is legal will have the right to share family health care plans, receive tax breaks by filing jointly, enjoy stronger adoption rights and inherit property. He cited a February ruling in a New York Appellate Division court in which the judges determined that there is no legal impediment in New York to the recognition of a same-sex marriage...
At a Manhattan news conference on Thursday, Paterson, a Roman Catholic, defended the directive, saying failure to issue it would have left the state open to lawsuits claiming the state deprived gay couples of civil rights enjoyed in other states.
"We have a time-held and time-tested tradition honoring those marital rights," Paterson said. "I am taking the same approach that this state always has with respect to out-of-state or marriages conducted in foreign governments being recognized here in the state of New York. I am following the law as it has always existed."