Same-Sex Marriage Bill Passes Senate, 33-29

Friday, June 24, 2011

Hundreds gather outside of the Stonewall Inn to celebrate the passage of a same-sex marriage bill. (Stephen Nessen/WNYC)

On Friday evening New York became the sixth state to approve same-sex marriage — an historic victory for gay rights advocates and bitter defeat for the bill's opponents that came during an overtime legislative session in Albany.

The vote came after days of closed-door deliberations by Republicans in the Senate and thrust New York into the national spotlight on same-sex marriage an issue that had been defeated in 2007 and again in 2009 by the state Senate.

But momentum for a fresh effort began earlier this year, when newly elected Governor Andrew Cuomo announced that a marriage equality law would be the centerpiece of his social agenda. Over the last two weeks of Albany's legislative session, support had been snowballing, and Cuomo, confident the bill would pass, introduced the measure to the Senate last Tuesday.

It appeared the Senate was one vote away from the 32 needed to pass the bill last week when Republican Senator Roy McDonald said he would vote 'yes,' for the bill bringing the State Senate yes/no count to 31-31.

Earlier, Democrats Shirley Huntley, Joseph Addabbo, and Carl Kruger announced that they would vote in favor of the bill. Senator Ruben Diaz, a Pentecostal minister, remained the lone Democrat in opposition. Republican Senator Jim Alesi said he too would support the bill.

But Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos delayed bringing the bill up for a vote, and leadership in both legislative chambers extended the session beyond June 20 in order to resolve issues with several measures, including a property tax cap and rent regulations.

Republicans continued to conference behind closed doors, specifically scrutinizing the language over more protections for religious organizations and institutions that didn't want to recognize or perform gay marriages.

While the legislation has passed, legislators can still repeal the gay marriage law in future sessions. Such an effort is underway in New Hampshire, where Republican Representatives have introduced repeal bills.

In Iowa, the state Assembly has tried to pass an amendment to the state constitution retroactively defining marriage as between a man and a woman.

New York joins those states as well as Connecticut, Massachusetts and Vermont as the only ones to allow same sex couples to get married. Washington, DC also has legalized same-sex marriage.


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    Comments [10]

    Congratulations to all of society for this. Next up, tax reform! Stop giving marrieds and parents tax breaks. Parents get tax breaks while those who choose not to have kids, pay for others' kids education! Responsible citizens respectful of over- population issues are unfairly penalized.

    Jun. 27 2011 10:54 AM

    First: congratulations. This was hard-won, and even though many of us would prefer to see the state not involved in marriage gay OR straight, this means a lot to a lot of people, and celebration is in order.
    When the corks have finished popping, however, I hope that Cuomo's move will be seen for what it is: an attempt to paper over his pro-corporate, anti-union policies with his liberal base.

    We asked for a jobs program, financial reform, and environmental protections - issues which affect all of us, but particularly the most vulnerable. Instead, Cuomo delivers gay marriage. It's easier than addressing the bread-and-butter issues of survival faced by the people.

    Jun. 25 2011 01:41 PM
    UncleMarty from Queens

    At last..... come celebrate on Sunday...

    Jun. 25 2011 10:46 AM

    Today New York! Tomorrow Alabama and Mississippi!

    Jun. 25 2011 02:37 AM
    Ebun from Lagos Nigeria

    Been a long time coming, but this has never been about this or that, that was irrelevant. This was to me about allowing folks the chance to get joy, and to do it without stigma, this was about that very thing America stands for, that very thing that makes it different from Nigeria or elsewhere. Glad to be a New Yorker today, I wish I was in town to be at all those awesome parties that I am sure are going down as I type. Tomorrow life goes on, this becomes a distant memory but today, our better angels won! Here's to NY

    Jun. 25 2011 01:27 AM
    Leslie from Chelsea

    What a difference 40 years makes. This time the cops have closed off Christopher Street so we can dance in it. Not a billy club in sight! The bill isn't perfect. But it's a step - or a stumble- forward.

    Jun. 24 2011 11:54 PM
    Abby Bean from NE, USA

    You'd think our country was in great shape with all of these politicians wasting so much time and energy trying to defeat love. Hooray, NY!!

    Jun. 24 2011 11:35 PM
    Abby Bean from NE, USA

    You'd think our country was in great shape with all of these politicians wasting so much time and energy trying to defeat love. Hooray, NY!!

    Jun. 24 2011 11:35 PM

    Oh, it's about time! As the mother of a gay teenager, every one of these bills passing feels like a personal victory for my daughter.

    Jun. 24 2011 11:27 PM


    Jun. 24 2011 10:57 PM

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