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Posted by on Jun 25, 2011 in Law, Politics | 5 comments

New York Senate Passes Same-Sex Marriage Bill; Governor Signed Before Midnight

New York has joined Connecticut, Iowa, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Vermont and Washington, D.C., in making same-sex marriage the law of the state.

Friday night, the NY Senate passed the historic bill by a 33-29 vote; just before midnight first-year Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed the bill into law. The law becomes effective July 24, 2011.

Thirty-two votes were needed for passage, which rested on the votes of four Republicans: James S. Alesi (Fairport), Mark Grisanti (Buffalo), Roy J. McDonald (Troy), and Stephen Saland (Poughkeepsie). One Democrat, Rubén Díaz, Sr. (the Bronx) was the only Democratic senator to vote “no” on the bill.

“I’m verklempt,” said a nervously optimistic Assemblyman Matthew Titone (D-S.I), one of five openly gay state lawmakers prior to the vote. “I’m still in a state of disbelief.” […] For gay couples, marriage means more than just swapping rings.

For the first time they qualify for the same 1,324 state marriage benefits afforded to straight couples.

Same-sex couples are not eligible for federal marriage benefits because of the Defense of Marriage Act. (source)

The bill was lambasted by the Catholic Church:

“The passage by the Legislature of a bill to alter radically and forever humanity’s historic understanding of marriage leaves us deeply disappointed and troubled,” [New York’s Catholic] bishops said [in a joint statement].

This appears to be the case of the legislature following popular opinion, not leading it. Two years ago, a similar bill failed. At that time, only 37 percent of state residents supported same-sex marriage. A poll this year, conducted by Quinnipiac, showed 58 percent support.