NEW YORK (AP) — A New York state judge has thrown out the first direct legal challenge to the governor's move to recognize same-sex marriages performed in other states.

Judge Lucy Billings says in her ruling Tuesday that the policy is a "permissible" step toward equality for gays and lesbians.

Thousands of New Yorkers are expected to take advantage of a new Massachusetts law letting them wed there. California is the only other state to legalize gay marriage.

A Christian legal group in Arizona had sued in New York, saying the issue should be decided by that state's Legislature.

The organization and the office of Gov. David Paterson had no immediate response to the ruling.