New York allows gay marriage

2011-06-26 09:26

New York - Gay New Yorkers basked on Saturday in the glow of a landmark decision by the state legislature to legalise gay marriage, a powerful victory for rights advocates in one of the most populous US states.

Gay rights supporters chanted and danced in the streets of New York City into pre-dawn hours as news spread that the Republican-controlled senate had narrowly approved the "Marriage Equality Act" in the influential Empire State where the gay rights movement began 40 years ago.

Activists expressed hope the decision will galvanise the national gay rights movement after a series of setbacks.

Governor Andrew Cuomo signed the measure into law on Friday just before midnight after the state assembly gave its final approval, making New York the sixth and largest US state where gay couples can legally wed once the bill takes effect in 30 days.

Cheers erupted in the senate galleries in the state capital Albany when legislators voted 33-29 to approve the measure after weeks of intense wrangling. The 29 Democratic senators were joined by four Republicans, one more than the minimum needed for approval.

Obama backs legal rights

President Barack Obama visited New York a day before the vote; he has personally backed legal rights for same-sex couples if not same-sex marriage per se.

"The President has long believed that gay and lesbian couples deserve the same rights and legal protections as straight couples," White House spokesperson Shin Inouye said in Washington. "The states should determine for themselves how best to uphold the rights of their own citizens. The process in New York worked just as it should."

Crowds of people gathered to hug, dance and cheer outside the Stonewall Inn, in Manhattan's Greenwich Village, where riots broke out on June 28 1969 after police raided the gay-friendly bar. The incident is seen as the birth of the modern gay rights movement.

"I'm ecstatic! I was waiting 30 years for that moment," said Frank Frederick, a 52-year-old doorman outside one of the bars near the Stonewall Inn on Christopher Street.

Cuomo, who had lobbied hard for the measure, beamed after its approval.

Social justice

"What we accomplished this evening with marriage equality really in some ways brings it all home. Because this state, when it is at its finest, is a beacon for social justice," Cuomo said at a press conference soon after the vote.

Marc Grisanti, one of the Republicans who voted for the measure in Albany, agonised over his decision.

"I cannot legally come up with an argument against same-sex marriage," Grisanti said as he was about to vote. "I cannot deny a person, a human being... the same rights I have with my wife."

The first Republican to break ranks with the conservative party this year was senator James Alesi, who voted against the bill in 2009.

But Ruben Diaz, the only Democratic senator to vote against the measure, said "God, not Albany, has settled the definition of marriage, a long time ago."

The outcome of the vote marked a dramatic reversal of fortune for gay rights activists after the New York senate soundly rejected a similar bill in December 2009, and similar measures failed in New Jersey in 2010 and in Maryland and Rhode Island earlier this year.


"Today is a day to celebrate, but we must be ever vigilant in protecting this victory we've worked so hard to win," said Ross Levi, executive director of the Empire State Pride Agenda.

"We need to help frame the national narrative... so equality and justice do not end at our borders."

New York state lawmakers had been in drawn-out negotiations in an extraordinary session, putting final touches on language designed to address legal protections for religious organizations that did not want to be charged with discrimination if they object to same-sex marriage.

New York followed the path of Iowa, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Connecticut and Vermont in approving gay marriage after a March poll found that 53% of Americans are in favour of allowing gay marriage.

Some states like California offer same-sex civil unions, but not marriage rights. That means the parties have some legal rights like married couples but not all.

The American Civil Liberties Union applauded what it called "a victory for families and a victory for human rights" in New York.


The Log Cabin Republicans, which represents gay members of the party, congratulated the Republicans who voted in favour of the bill.

"Republicans in the New York state senate stood up for true conservative values: individual liberty, personal freedom and equal rights for all, and we thank them for voting on the right side of history," said Gregory Angelo, head of the group's New York chapter.

But the New York state Catholic Conference of bishops said approval of a bill "to alter radically and forever humanity's historic understanding of marriage leaves us deeply disappointed and troubled."

  • Marcell - 2011-06-26 09:52

    Where is JQ when you need him? Do the usa accept Muslim marriages?

  • Valis - 2011-06-26 10:36

    Finally the rights of all human beings to happiness are being recognised. And to all those homophobic idiots, f___ you!

      cocopops - 2011-06-26 11:05

      Happiness??....deep inside we all know right from wrong, truth from lies,we were created in His image, but some of us reject His way and follow our own passions. Romans 1:26....In the same way that men give up natural sexual relations with women and burn with passion for each other. Men do shameful things with each other, and as result they bring upon themselves the punishment they deserve for their wrongdoing.

      x - 2011-06-26 11:26

      If your only objection to gay marriage is religious, you do not have a case AT ALL... That is what religious freedom means.

  • ZACommentator - 2011-06-26 11:05

    So sad we live in a world where this is still even an issue. We are disgusting as a species.

      Marcell - 2011-06-26 13:01

      Yip, Humans were supposed to be in charge of animals and this place we call earth.

  • Aaron - 2011-06-26 11:08

    Is this society so advanced and enlightened that we see what no other society EVER saw in history? You gay marriage supporters think gay marriage opponents are arrogant? What about you? You think every society that ever existed until now was wrong to not allow what you're so enlightened about and call justice! God still has the final word on this. Let some politicians call it legitimate, it doesn't make it so. We all know it's wrong, but many have hardened their hearts and ignored their consciences so long that it doesn't seem wrong anymore to them. But all you supporters knew it was wrong at a time. Many straights sin sexually and defile marriage too. No fornicator will escape God's judgment. It will be horrible and fearful! Jesus said the last days would be like the days of Noah and the days of Lot (in Luke 17). Who would have thought it'd be so blatant? Today is a day of mercy. Turn your back on this ungodly society and its evil ways or perish with it! Jesus will have mercy on you if you call on him, but only if you repent of your lawlessness (Matthew 5:17-18, Matthew 7:23, Luke 12:58-59)

      x - 2011-06-26 11:32

      Thats fine if you want to believe that. Lots of people don't and unsderstand that all humans are equal. Gay people also understand that they are not sub-humans and are allowed to live their lives equally without being harrased, beaten up and killed (normally by religious groups I may add). So be all anti-gay-marriage; it does not make a difference to gay people in NY cause they can now legally be married. Are you going to hold your breath now until they change the laws again and stomp your little footies?

      Brieuse - 2011-06-26 11:39

      The best thing is, God is finally allowed to bless their marriages.

      Marcell - 2011-06-26 13:12

      Brieuse: God does not ask permission or wait for a human to 'allow' Him to do something. Don't be confused.

      Aaron - 2011-06-26 13:35

      If gay marriage was right, God would have blessed it even when it was illegal. But He will not bless it now even though it's legal. We're all going to the judgment alone. No politicians and manmade laws to back us up. We'll answer to our Creator with none to plead for us or deliver us from Him. His judgment alone matters. Gay people are not sub-human, but anyone familiar with gay culture knows that homosexuals regularly gossip, abuse, and use each other in terrible ways- likely worse than violence and harassment from non-gays. Yet this is kept silent by the media. People who speak out against homosexuality and its destructive influence are hushed and labeled as hateful and bigots. Some really are hateful, but many actually care about homosexuals. The ones that risk looking like bigots to tell the truth may actually be the best friends homosexuals have. Yet there's a pleasure to the lifestyle as well as a fear of leaving that keep many in it even though they hate it deep down and wish to get out. If you're such a person repent of your sin and call on Jesus. He can get you through. Get a Bible, read it, obey it, and it will be well with you.

      ZACommentator - 2011-06-26 14:20

      Who is this god you speak of? Sounds like an ahole to me.

      ZACommentator - 2011-06-26 14:21

      Stop pushing your made up invented religion and your god down everyone's throat and if you really believe it then stop judging people. Typical attitude all the god lovers have, 2 sets of rules.

      x - 2011-06-26 16:07

      Why does it bother you so much??? I previously posted the following; but it is still worth a look: In a study of 35 homophobic and 30 non-homophobic men, they were shown 4 minutes each of straight, lesbian and gay porn, whilst having a measurement 'tool' to indicate increase in circumference. ALL the men were turned on by straight and lesbian porn, but ONLY men from the HOMOPHOBIC group were turned on by gay porn. Please find the study online at the US National Library for Medicine, article 8772014. Happy reading!

      ZACommentator - 2011-06-26 16:45

      Aaron it sounds like you have some homosexual issues you need to deal with. Watch an episode of Glee and see if you like it. If you want to look for a group of people who 'abuse each other' try the catholic priesthood.

      Doris - 2011-06-27 01:15

      Have you ever heard of something called "separation of church and state?!!!" Oh that's right . . . everything is about "God" with you apparently. While you have the luxury of enjoying your constitutional right to religious freedom, the minority population of homosexuals have to live a sub-standard life with 2nd-class citizenship & rights. What century are we living in again?! Honestly, I commend NYS for finally rising up in support of individual liberty and freedom for all its citizens. Let us not forget that these are the ideals this country was founded on! In fact, I actually find it appalling that the majority is even allowed to have a vote on a law that discriminates against a minority group and basically withholds the very benefit they the majority all ready freely enjoy by law! How can this be constitutional? Oh, and anyone familiar with the human culture knows that heterosexuals can also be found to regularly gossip, abuse, and use each other in terrible ways; just watch the nightly news! You don't see homosexuals in the spotlight for sending elicit photos of their genitalia to other people, hoarding kiddie porn on their computers, kidnapping little children & young women, raping, molesting, shooting or stabbing one another . . . . need I go on? So please, if religion is all you have to fall back on to deny US, the minority homosexual population, our constitutional right to freedom & equality, keep your "Holy Roller" prejudice at home and don't bring it to the polls!

      Keita Haruka - 2011-06-27 11:34

      Oh Aaron. You are such a lost little soul. You are clearly not familiar with "gay culture". If you were, you would know that there is NO SUCH THING, any more than there is a "straight culture". Take it from a gay man who's been in a gay relationship for 4 years. I have never been abused by him, nor have I ever abused him. All we've ever done is love and nurture each other. This "gay culture" you speak of. Where did you get information regarding it? The church? Your bible? Neither know what they're talking about. Trust me on this. Or maybe some "born agains"? Another bad source. Let me tell you something: believers have their opinions handed to them, and if anyone fears leaving, it's religious folks fearing to leave the church. There is no gay culture TO fear leaving. Gays are not a cult or a belief or even a lifestyle choice. If you believe otherwise you are either delusional or blinded. Yes. There's the Drag Queen subculture, but is NOT gay culture. The queens are a SUBCULTURE in the same way GOTHS or EMOS are a SUBCULTURE. No more and no less. You are fearfully ignorant of reality to be making the grand statements you do. Now. Why don't you take your bible and go preach to the muslims? Like it or not, your god does not speak for everyone, and you have no right to try and force your vision of right and wrong on anyone. We're not killing you, robbing you, raping your daughters or sons, stealing your slaves, riding your camels or filling your wells with salt. So SFTU already

      SaintBruce - 2011-06-27 19:34

      To those bashing Aaron - you all seem very intolerant of the views and beliefs of another person. How gracious of you! However - once you have actually had an encounter with the Living God and had your reality changed by that event, youwill have to modify all your pre-conceived ideas about what the world is really about. Don't think for one minute that I am judging Gay / Lesbian people - I am not. I spent years in the Jazz Dance community so I know the lives I can speak about. The Word of God can be demonstrated and gives evidence to the existence of God. Once you know this you then have to ask yourself questions about this altered reality and make decisions how you will live from then onwards. God says that homosexual intercourse is an abomination which is a very strong word to use. Once the reality of the supernatural becomes a part of your life, then the suggestions of our Creator pose a question: will you do His will, or stick with your own? So use your free will wisely and seek the truth. Oh and Brieuse - sorry , unless you are in covenant with God and follow His directions for living ( the Bible), He cannot bless a union He himself has called an abomination - mo matter what man tries to fool you into thinking that as then God would be contradicting His own Word - which He never does. ( I use 'He' as God refers to himself most often as "Father" - Greek = Pater , source and sustainer of life. Yet God is complete - male , female, Both - all at the same time). Your choice

      x - 2011-06-27 22:10

      Sadbruce... The point is not whether your god blesses gay marriages or not... The point is that gay people in ny can now get married. It has nothing to do with your religion. It is a legal issue.

  • Marcell - 2011-06-26 13:08

    I'm sorry to say but our world is sick. We are supposed to be at the top of the food chain. I can just pray that you will see the Light before it is to late.

      x - 2011-06-27 10:43

      And here I was thinking your fave quote was: "I you worry you die,if you don't worry you still die,so don't worry be happy" LOL Only when it suits you hey?

  • Arctic - 2011-06-26 14:29

    im so happy that we are finally being looked at as equals and not like we dont have feeling beliefs or wants, we want to be able to wake up "one day" and have everything with the one we love that so many others take for granted

      Marcell - 2011-06-27 00:35

      Like having your own children.

      x - 2011-06-27 10:39

      Exactly Marcell. Gay people should be able to adopt kids so I agree 100% with you. Also many gay people already have kids... either with previously failed marriages, or with surragates. Come to think of it most of my closest gay friends have kids.

  • Christo - 2012-05-10 05:56

    I dont have a problem with allowing them to get married but certainly not in a Church, why not let them marry in the church with the swinging doors, BEE policies are racist and Gay Rights is sexist,I dont support either, I believe in Equal Rights!

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