Today is a historic day for New Yorkers. In a 33-29 vote, the New York state senate just passed a law that legalizes same-sex marriage.
New York, the third most populous state in the United States, joins Massachusetts, Connecticut, Iowa, Vermont, New Hampshire and the District of Columbia in providing same-sex couples the right to marry.
The vote, which concluded at 10:31 PM June 24th, was dragged out for weeks, testing the nerves of both marriage equality supporters and opponents. Both sides camped at the state capital in Albany, relentlessly advocating their cause. Security for lawmakers was increased to avoid any incident and they were even asked to use the back entrance of the Senate to avoid contacts with the passionate crowd.
The New York gay marriage legislation received national attention in the US, as President Obama coincidentally landed in New York City on June 23rd for a fundraiser organised by his LGBT supporters. The LGBT community has a love-hate relationship with the President. On one had the President ended Don’t Ask Don’t Tell (Ban against Gays in the military), signed the Mathew Shepard law (Hate crimes law) and directed the justice department to stop defending the Defense of Marriage Act (Law banning gay marriage signed by President Clinton). On the other hand, his stand on gay marriage has changed based on the political climate. The Gay community is understandably frustrated with Obama for not taking a stand on the issue and openly supporting marriage equality.
It took the leadership of first term Democratic Governor Andrew Cuomo to get the bill granting marriage equality passed in New York. Both Democrats and Republicans voted in favor of the bill, making it the first bipartisan legislative victory for the LGBT community in the US.
June 24th, 9:30 PM : Bill taken up for discussion
June 24th, 9:35 PM to 9:45 PM : Senator Saland explained how the bill protects religious institutions and their freedom to not recognize Gay marriage, if the choose to. Senator Saland also talked about his personal struggle to accept marriage equality and Voted YES.
June 24th, 9:45 PM to 9:50 PM : Senator Diaz Sr voiced his opposition saying Gay marriage is bad for the society and voted NO
June 24th, 10:31 PM : Bill 5045 passed 33-29 votes
June 24th, 11:56 PM : Governor Cuomo signed the bill.