Gay marriage APPROVED in New York!
A Historic Day in America.
A Victory for Equality and Justice.
The New York State Senate voted 33-29 late on Friday, June 24, to approve a bill that would allow same-sex couples to marry.
"Marriage says we are a family," said gay state Sen. Tom Duane [D-Manhattan], referring to his partner Louis during an emotional speech on the Senate floor. "Louis and I are family and marriage strengthens all families. It’s going to strengthen my family and all New York families."
State Sen. Mark Grisanti [R-Buffalo] cited his Roman Catholic upbringing while speaking on the Senate floor. At the end, however, he said he could not deny someone the same rights he and his wife enjoy through marriage. "I cannot come up with an argument against same-sex marriage."
State Sen. Ruben Diaz [D-Bronx] spoke out against the measure before the vote--and he challenged Lt. Gov. Robert Duffy when he tried to stop him from prolonging the debate.
The highly anticipated vote came days after the legislative session had been scheduled to end on June 20. LGBT rights organizations view marriage equality in New York as a watershed moment in the movement for nuptials for same-sex couples.
Thousands gathered in the street and inside Stonewall, the site of the birth of the gay rights movement, to celebrate the passage of gay marriage in New York...
"New York is the largest state in the country to end marriage discrimination," said Evan Wolfson, founder of Freedom to Marry. "With this victory in New York, we have doubled the number of Americans who live in states with the freedom to marry. Together, we are changing hearts and minds and building the kind of successful campaign it will take to win marriage nationwide."
Ross Levi, executive director of the Empire State Pride Agenda, was inside the Senate chamber when the vote took place. "Love and fairness wins the day for all New Yorkers and our families," he said. "Today is a historic day and a victory for equality and justice - it is the culmination of many years of work by the Pride Agenda and others across the state. We are thrilled that finally all loving, committed New Yorkers will be able to make the commitment of marriage here in the Empire State."
New York City Council Speaker Christine Quinn echoed Levi.
"When I was a little girl I dreamed I would one day get married, I never imagined that it would take tonight’s Senate action to make that dream come true. Tonight’s historic Senate vote is a great moment for all New Yorkers," she said. "New York State’s recognition of marriage equality for same sex couples is an extraordinary step towards full equality for LGBT people. Tonight’s sweet victory in Albany will be felt all across America. At long last, the change we have fought for will be seen in the lives of families throughout our great state, including my own."
FIRE ISLAND PINES PROUDLY SAYS “THANK YOU, NEW YORK. WE DO!”
New York City Councilmember Jimmy Van Bramer [D-Queens] and his partner, Dan Hendrick, issued a statement of their own. "Today, at last, our state government has caught up with the truth that our families, colleagues and neighbors have long known: GLBT citizens deserve the same rights, recognition and respect as every other New Yorker," they said.
New York, the nation's third most populous state, will join Connecticut, Iowa, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Vermont and Washington, D.C., in allowing same-sex couples to wed.
For five months in 2008, gay marriage was legal in California, the biggest state in population, and 18,000 same-sex couples rushed to tie the knot there before voters overturned the state Supreme Court ruling that allowed the practice. The constitutionality of California's ban is now before a federal appeals court.
While court challenges in New York are all but certain, the state — unlike California — makes it difficult for the voters to repeal laws at the ballot box. Changing the law would require a constitutional convention, a long, drawn-out process.
The night before, President Barack Obama encouraged lawmakers to support gay rights during a fundraiser with New York City's gay community. The vote also is sure to charge up annual gay pride events this weekend, culminating with parades Sunday in New York City, San Francisco and other cities.
"History was made today in New York," added Joe Solmonese, president of the Human Rights Campaign. "This victory sends a message that marriage equality across the country will be a reality very soon."
The law will take effect in 30 days. Gov. Andrew Cuomo has already signed the bill!
A number of celebrities also praised the vote. Lady Gaga tweeted that she couldn't stop crying, while Pink tweeted, "congratulations! About time!"
"I have never be prouder to be a lifelong New Yorker than I am today with the passage of marriage equality," Cyndi Lauper said in a statement.
Kylie Minogue tweeted..."Go NYC!!!!! #equalityforall Love is love is love!!!!!"
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