June 24, 2011 at 10:32 pm EDT | by Phil Reese
New York approves marriage equality

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.


  • Congratulations to my home state and to all who worked so hard to make this a reality!

  • Robin…for once be happy…cherish the victories because they are few…and stop being such a bitch…really…not sexy and nobody likes it. Your quickly becoming the buzz kill that nobody will claim to have brought along to the party.

  • It should be pointed out that in every single media list of US jurisdictions with marriage equality [including this article’s], the Coquille Tribe is always left out. They have had full marriage equality since May 2009. So NY joins 5 other states, the District of Columbia *AND* the Coquille.

  • The win is only good if it can’t be taken away by a ballot initiative. We can’t get cocky. Until majorities defeat all measures against marriage equality at the ballot box, we can’t say the majority is truly with us or we have won. The battle continues as these cases continue their way to the SCOTUS and our enemies continue to push for amendements against our rights at both the state and Federal level.

  • Many news outlets today have reported ONLY that the Religious Exemptions in the law are about Churches not being forced to conduct Gay Marriages, but this is not the entire, nor the most important part of the exemptions, and I am concerned that many are being mislead.

    Under these exemptions, Churches may still accept Governmentally Funded Contracts to operate services such as Adoptions, but they are allowed to then Refuse Adoption Services to Gays, and herein lies the Unconstitutional problem.

    The US Constitution allows for “Equal Protection”, and it also states that there shall be no laws created “respecting Religion”. This is clear. The NY Legislature has a sworn duty to uphold the US Constitution, but they have created yet another Unconstitutional law just like DOMA.

    While the law does give Gay couples the right to marry, it also reinforces the practice of inequality, favoring particular religious beliefs.

    This is not being reported upon in an accurate manner among other News Outlets.

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