New York says 'Yes' to same-sex marriage
7/8/2011, 11:17 a.m.
That was the vote in the New York State Senate that passed a bill legalizing same-sex marriage Friday night. Crowds gathered in Greenwich Village shouted in joy after hearing of the vote. Proponents of gay marriage in New York at the state capital shouted "USA! USA!" and "Thank You, (New York State Governor) Cuomo."
There are no residency restrictions in Marriage Equality Act of 2011 so gay couples from all over the country and come to New York and tie the knot. There are also provisions in the bill that protect religious groups from discrimination lawsuits if they don't want to perform marriage ceremonies for gay couples.
Elected officials and advocates were quick to sing the praises of Albany after the news.
Governor Cuomo has shown New York and the nation what leadership looks like," said Brian Ellner. New York State Senior Strategist for the Human Rights Campaign, in a statement. "The bipartisan nature of the vote is compelling proof that marriage equality is increasingly an issue that unites, not divides. Legislators listened to the constituents and did the right thing."
"Today we made history by granting countless committed couples the right to marry," said State Senator Jose Serrano. "The communities I represent have long been recognized as thriving hubs of social progress, and have a strong commitment to equal rights."
There was some tension however with State Senator Ruben Diaz, Sr. of the Bronx who went past his 2 minutes of allotted time to speak to denounce gay marriage. When he was told to wrap it up by Lieutenant Governor Robert Duffy, Diaz shouted that Duffy was violating his free speech. It was also reported that State Senator Kevin Parker was not happy that he didn't get a chance to speak. Duffy allegedly wanted to cut the night short so he could get straight to vote.
Cuomo will sign the bill into law tonight meaning gay couples will be able to get married in the state of New York in 30 days. New York is the sixth largest state so far to legalize same-sex nuptials.