Friday night, the New York Senate passed the Marriage Equality Act by a vote of 33 to 29, with four Republicans joining all but one Democrat in supporting the measure. Governor Cuomo signed the bill into law that evening. Once the law goes into effect in 30 days, same-sex couples will have the right to marry, as well as other rights, benefits and protections, such as the right to visit a partner in the hospital and the right to make decisions about the partner’s medical care that are currently limited to married couples of the opposite sex. The bill passed the state Assembly by an 80-63 vote earlier in June.
Brian Ellner, Human Rights Campaign’s (HRC) senior strategist for New York, stated, “Governor Cuomo has shown New York and the nation what leadership looks like. The bipartisan nature of the vote is compelling proof that marriage equality is increasingly an issue that unites, not divides. Legislators listened to their constituents and did the right thing.”
New York will become the sixth and largest state to legalize gay marriage, following Iowa, Connecticut, Vermont, Massachusetts, and New Hampshire, and the District of Columbia.
Media Resources: Human Rights Campaign 6/24/11; New York Times 6/24/11; Feminist Daily Newswire 6/24/11