Same-sex marriage approved by New York Senate

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    Jun 25, 2011 2:26 AM GMT
    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/06/25/nyregion/gay-marriage-approved-by-new-york-senate.html?_r=1&pagewanted=1

    Gay Marriage Approved by N.Y. Senate
    By NICHOLAS CONFESSORE and MICHAEL BARBARO
    Published: June 24, 2011

    ALBANY — Lawmakers voted late Friday to legalize same-sex marriage, making New York the largest state where gay and lesbian couples can wed, and giving the national gay-rights movement new momentum from the state where it was born.
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    Hans Pennink/Associated Press

    The same-sex marriage bill was approved on a 33 to 29 vote, as four Republican state senators joined 29 Democrats in voting for the bill. The Senate galleries were so packed with supporters and opponents that the fire marshals closed them off. And along the Great Western Staircase, outside the Senate chamber, about 100 demonstrators chanted and waved placards throughout the night — separated by a generation, a phalanx of state troopers and 10 feet of red marble.

    “Support traditional marriage,” read signs held by opponents. “Love is love, Vote Yes,” declared those in the hands of the far more youthful group of people who supported it.

    Senate approval was the final hurdle for the same-sex marriage legislation, which is strongly supported by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo and was approved last week by the Assembly. Mr. Cuomo is expected to sign the measure soon, and the law will go into effect 30 days later, meaning that same-sex couples could begin marrying in New York by midsummer.

    Passage of same-sex marriage here followed a daunting run of defeats in other states where voters barred same-sex marriage by legislative action, constitutional amendment or referendum. Just five states currently permit same-sex marriage: Connecticut, Iowa, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Vermont, as well as the District of Columbia.

    The approval of same-sex marriage represented a reversal of fortune for gay-rights advocates, who just two years ago suffered a humiliating, and unexpected, defeat when a same-sex marriage bill was easily defeated in the Senate, which was then controlled by Democrats. This year, with the Senate controlled by Republicans, the odds against passage of same-sex marriage appeared long.

    But the unexpected victory had an unlikely champion: Mr. Cuomo, a Democrat who pledged last year to support same-sex marriage but whose early months in office were dominated by intense battles with lawmakers and some labor unions over spending cuts.

    Mr. Cuomo made same-sex marriage one of his top priorities for the year and deployed his top aide to coordinate the efforts of a half-dozen local gay-rights organizations whose feuding and disorganization had in part been blamed for the 2009 defeat. The new coalition of same-sex marriage supporters also brought in one of Mr. Cuomo’s trusted campaign operatives to supervise a $3 million television and radio campaign aimed at persuading a handful of Republican and Democratic senators to drop their opposition and support same-sex marriage.For Senate Republicans, even bringing the measure to the floor was a freighted decision. Most of the Republicans firmly oppose same-sex marriage on moral grounds, and many of them also had political concerns, fearing that allowing same-sex marriage to pass on their watch would embitter conservative voters and cost the Republican Party its one-seat majority in the Senate. Leaders of the state’s Conservative Party — the support of which many Republican lawmakers depend on to win election — warned that they would oppose in legislative elections next year any Republican senator who voted for same-sex marriage.

    But after days of agonized discussion capped by a marathon nine-hour, closed-door debate on Friday, Republicans came to a fateful decision. The full Senate would be allowed to vote on same-sex marriage, the majority leader, Dean G. Skelos, said Friday afternoon, and each member would be left to vote according to his conscience.

    "The days of just bottling up things, and using these as excuses not to have votes — as far as I’m concerned as leader, its over with," said Mr. Skelos, a Long Island Republican.

    Several senators delivered impassioned speeches about the vote.

    The lone Democratic opponent, Senator Ruben Diaz of the Bronx, said it was “unbelievable” that the Republican Party, “the party that always defended family values,” had allowed same-sex marriage to pass.

    “God, not Albany, has settled the definition of marriage, a long time ago,” he said.

    But Mark Grisanti, a Buffalo Republican who opposed gay marriage when he ran for election last year, said he had studied the issue closely, agonized over his responsibility as a lawmaker, and concluded he could not vote against the bill. Mr. Grisanti voted yes.

    “A man can be wiser today than yesterday, but there can be no respect for that man if he has failed to do his duty," Mr. Grisanti told his colleagues.

    The tide of change in Albany began as Mr. Cuomo relentlessly pressed lawmakers in a series of phone calls and sit-down meetings, advocates also tried to demonstrate shifting public opinion, citing polls that showed a majority of New York voters supporting same-sex marriage, and releasing almost daily written or videotaped expressions of support from celebrities as well as professional athletes, business leaders, and political figures.

    The legalization of same-sex marriage in the United States is a relatively recent goal of the gay-rights movement, but over the last few years, gay-rights organizers have placed it at the center of their agenda, steering money and muscle into dozens of state capitals in an often uphill effort to persuade lawmakers.

    In New York, passage of the bill reflects rapidly evolving sentiment about same-sex unions. In 2004, according to the Quinnipiac poll, 37 percent of the state’s residents supported allowing same-sex couples to wed. This year, 58 percent of them did. Advocates moved aggressively this year to capitalize on that shift, flooding the district offices of wavering lawmakers with phone calls, e-mails and signed postcards from constituents who favored same-sex marriage, sometimes in bundles that numbered in the thousands.

    Dozens more states have laws or constitutional amendments banning same-sex marriage, many of them approved in the last few years, as same-sex marriage moved to the front line of the culture war and politicians deployed the issue as a tool for energizing their base.

    But New York could be a shift: It is now by far the largest state to grant legal recognition to same-sex weddings, and one that is home to a large, visible and politically influential gay community. Supporters of the measure described the victory in New York as especially symbolic — and poignant — because of its rich place in the history of gay rights: the movement’s foundational moment, in June of 1969, was a riot against police inside the Stonewall Inn, a bar in the West Village.

    On Friday night, as the Senate voted, a crowd jammed into the Stonewall Inn, where televisions were tuned to the Senate hours before the vote began. Danny Garvin, 62, said he had been at the bar the night of the riot, and came back to watch the Senate debate Friday. On the streets where police beat gay men in 1969, on Friday crowds cheered, as police quietly stood watch. Bernie Janelle, 53, turned to her partner of 16 years, Cindy Hearing, and said, “I’m going to propose to her on Sunday.”

    Just before the Senate’s marriage vote, lawmakers in the Senate and Assembly also approved a broad package of major legislation that constituted the remainder of their agenda for the year. The bills included a cap on local property tax increases, and a strengthening of New York’s rent regulation laws, as well as a five-year tuition increase at
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    Jun 25, 2011 2:38 AM GMT
    This is amazing! Congrats to all the lovers in NYC icon_smile.gif

    Equality is amazing. 44 states to go now!
  • HndsmKansan

    Posts: 16311

    Jun 25, 2011 2:42 AM GMT
    A grand celebration!

    icon_biggrin.gif
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    Jun 25, 2011 2:49 AM GMT
    ActuallyNPH‎: I'd sure love to get married. Please, NY Senate, vote in favor of marriage equality today. My family would really appreciate it. 6 hours ago

    NPH, now you can marry... me!icon_twisted.gif
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    Jun 25, 2011 2:51 AM GMT
    The NO votes will too soon be forgotten and the bigots will have time to craft their messages of conservative caution.

    Yet let these votes be remembered and a score kept. I hope that lawmakers who acted honorably and insured our rights will be chosen for higher leaderships............and the ones who stood with bigotry and ignorance should find their path elsewere from civic government where they can do less harm.
  • austex85

    Posts: 572

    Jun 25, 2011 2:54 AM GMT
    Watch there be a call for a constitutional amendment referendum soon

    hopefully this won't be attacked as much as it was in Cali because it was decided [more] democratically rather than from the bench
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    Jun 25, 2011 3:09 AM GMT
    Today is the day to be a proud New Yorker!

    BOO YAH 208yxia.jpg
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    Jun 25, 2011 3:10 AM GMT
    I'm thrilled about this!!! extra proud that I am a native born New Yorker icon_biggrin.gif
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    Jun 25, 2011 3:11 AM GMT
    Just got the HRC text (and was about to post a thread about it)...awesome! icon_biggrin.gif
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    Jun 25, 2011 3:14 AM GMT
    austex85 saidWatch there be a call for a constitutional amendment referendum soon

    hopefully this won't be attacked as much as it was in Cali because it was decided [more] democratically rather than from the bench


    In some states it only takes a majority of voters to amend the constitution, but in New York it is a very difficult and lengthy process. Most likely, gay marriage will now be a permanent thing in New York.

    http://www.adirondackcouncil.org/constamendments3.html
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    Jun 25, 2011 3:15 AM GMT
    Bravo to New York!
    Thankfully they have a few decent Republicans in NY who decided to vote for the bill!

    Too bad that most of the Repubs voted against the bill, but hopefully the voters of NY will punish all the Repubs who voted against our equal rights - at the next election.
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    Jun 25, 2011 3:16 AM GMT
    Cheers and congrats to NY couples who will be able to legally marry!
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    Jun 25, 2011 3:18 AM GMT
    GREAT news! What a historic day!

    Connecticut, Massachusetts, Vermont, New Hampshire, Iowa, Washington, D.C., and NEW YORK know what's up.

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    Jun 25, 2011 3:43 AM GMT
    Fantastic news!!!!!

    "The voice of the intellect is a soft one, but it does not rest until it has gained a hearing.” - Sigmund Freud
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    Jun 25, 2011 3:43 AM GMT
    Hell yes!!! icon_biggrin.gif So happy to be a New Yorker! (An upstate New Yorker, but a New Yorker nevertheless!)
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    Jun 25, 2011 3:44 AM GMT
    This is AMAZING! icon_biggrin.gif
  • kolkii

    Posts: 147

    Jun 25, 2011 3:55 AM GMT
    Just right before PRIDE wkend.. perfect timing.. I MISS NYYYYY, be back soon icon_cool.gif
  • ShanksE

    Posts: 263

    Jun 25, 2011 3:58 AM GMT
    I am not a New Yorker but I have been following the developments for the past week and it is really inspiring and refreshing to note that they have passed the bill. Great going.
    A lot of hard work and a lot of sacrifices by many people have made this possible. Kudos to all those nameless, faceless foot soldiers of the cause. Great going.
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    Jun 25, 2011 4:03 AM GMT
    kolkii saidJust right before PRIDE wkend.. perfect timing.. I MISS NYYYYY, be back soon icon_cool.gif




    I miss NYC too.
    I wish I was there tonight.
    I'm sure there is some major celebrating going on.
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    Jun 25, 2011 4:03 AM GMT
    CONGRATULATIONS you guys!

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    Jun 25, 2011 4:04 AM GMT
    meninlove said CONGRATULATIONS you guys!



    Now only if it can be recognized by the federal as well...

    One state at a time though
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    Jun 25, 2011 4:07 AM GMT
    I guess Oldgeezer is crying his self loathing little eyes out.
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    Jun 25, 2011 4:11 AM GMT
    Scruffypup saidI guess Oldgeezer is crying his self loathing little eyes out.



    Well, in my single experiences I met several guys that preferred it remain a submerged naughty sexual activity; hotter, they said. The lure of the taboo.



  • hartfan

    Posts: 1037

    Jun 25, 2011 4:12 AM GMT
    Congratulations Empire State.
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    Jun 25, 2011 4:16 AM GMT
    YES! So proud to be from New York -- wish I could be there celebrating!