UPDATE: According to Politico, the Governor pledges to sign the bill tonight, “as soon as it is delivered from the Senate.”
UPDATE 2: Americablog is reporting that the Governor signed the bill at 11:55pm, June 24, 2011. New Yorkers should wait for a confirmation, but looks like the law goes into effect July 24, 2011.
ALBANY, N.Y. — 30 days after Governor Andrew Cuomo signs the bill legalizing same-sex marriage, New York will join five other states — Massachusetts, Connecticut, Iowa, Vermont and New Hampshire — and the District of Columbia in allowing all couples to marry. New York will be the largest state with such rights.
With only one Democrat voting against the bill, New York’s Senate is the first Republican-controlled legislative body in the United States to pass a bill legalizing same-sex marriage in that state.
The chair of the Massachusetts Democratic Party, John Walsh was quick to release a statement, congratulating New York on joining his state in offering same-sex couples full marriage equality.
“I would like to congratulate our neighbors in New York who tonight joined Massachusetts and a handful of other states in recognizing marriage equality,” Walsh’s statement read. “Governor Cuomo brought Democrats and Republicans together in Albany to move our nation one step closer to becoming a more perfect union with liberty and justice for all.”
Massachusetts was the first state in the union to legalize same-sex marriage while Republican Presidential hopeful Mitt Romney was Governor of that state, in 2004. Massachusetts is also a lead plaintiff in several cases against the Defense of Marriage Act, the Federal law allowing some states and forcing Federal agencies to refuse to recognize marriages performed in Massachusetts and other marriage equality states.
Sen. Reuben Diaz of the Bronx, who has a lesbian granddaughter, was the only no vote on the Democratic side, as expected. The Assembly passed a similar bill earlier in the session, but upon the bill’s arrival in the Senate, several amendments were added, requiring the Assembly to vote to accept the ammendments earlier in the day today.
Governor Andrew Cuomo has pledged to sign the bill, and pushed for its passage in the legislature. The bill will become law 30 days after his signature.
LGBT activist group, GetEQUAL was quick to use the opportunity of the passage of marriage equality in New York to call attention to other issues that group is pushing for in that state.
“While we’re thrilled that marriage is now on the books in New York,” Director Robin McGehee said in a statement released minutes after the victory, “we’re pained that the Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act (GENDA) has been shoved to the side by the Republican state legislature despite broad public support.”
The anti-same-sex marriage group, the National Organization for Marriage, has already pledged to push for a voter referendum on the issue. Earlier in the day the group published a blog entry on their website titled, “Who Supports Rushing a Gay Marriage Bill Through Without A Vote of the People?” The entry included pictures of celebrities like Lady Gaga, Lance Bass, Neil Patrick Harris and Julianne Moore.
The vote was expected to be much closer, but several Republicans who were undecided surprised many advocates by voting in the affirmative on the bill.
We will be updating this piece throughout the night.