Get ready to party when the NYC Pride March kicks off at noon tomorrow at 36th Street & 5th Avenue: The timing couldn’t be better.
As you’ve probably heard by now, New York Governor Andrew M. Cuomo signed the state’s new marriage equality bill into law just before midnight last night, just after it was approved by a 33-29 vote in the Republican-controlled Senate, with the support of Republicans James S. Alesi, Mark J. Grisanti, Stephen M. Saland, and Roy J. McDonaly. That will pave the way for the first same-sex marriages in the state in 30 days, when New York will join Connecticut, Iowa, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Vermont, and the District of Columbia in officially recognizing marriages between gay and lesbian couples.
“New York has finally torn down the barrier that has prevented same-sex couples from exercising the freedom to marry and from receiving the fundamental protections that so many couples and families take for granted,” Governor Cuomo said in a statement late last night. “With the world watching, the Legislature, by a bipartisan vote, has said that all New Yorkers are equal under the law. With this vote, marriage equality will become a reality in our state, delivering long overdue fairness and legal security to thousands of New Yorkers.”
“I commend Majority Leader Dean Skelos and Minority Leader John Sampson for their leadership and Senator Tom Duane for his lifetime commitment to fighting for equality for all New Yorkers,” Governor Cuomo continued. “I also thank Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and Assemblyman Danny O’Donnell for ushering this measure through their chamber.”
Two years ago a similar marriage equality bill failed to pass the then Democrat-controlled Senate. But New Yorkers United for Marriage — a coalition that includes the Empire State Pride Agenda, Freedom to Marry, the Human Rights Campaign, Marriage Equality New York, and the Log Cabin Republicans — renewed its push this year after new polls suggested 58 percent on New Yorkers supported allowing same-sex couples to wed.
This morning the front page at NewYorkersUnitedForMarriage.com reads:
On behalf of Empire State Pride Agenda, Freedom to Marry, Human Rights Campaign, Log Cabin Republicans and Marriage Equality New York, New Yorkers United for Marriage thanks each and every one of you for your support, calls, letters, signatures, donations and outreach that made this possible! The successful passage of marriage equality legislation in New York would not have happened without every individual who made a call to their legislator, donated to keep our TV ads on air, wrote letters, signed petitions, volunteered at a phonebank and many other actions. Because of you, the freedom to marry will be a reality for all New Yorkers!
With last night’s vote and Governor Cuomo’s signature, New York is now the largest state to recognize same-sex marriages, giving new momentum to the marriage equality movement.
On Thursday president Barack Obama, who has said his position on the issue is “evolving,” acknowledged the marriage equality debate in New York at an LGBT fundraiser thrown by the Democratic National Convention, stopping just short of a show of support but noting,
“That’s how progress is being won — here in New York, around the country. Day by day, it’s won by ordinary people who are striving and fighting and protesting for change, and who, yes, are keeping the pressure up, including pressure on me… And that’s the story of progress in America. That’s what all of you represent — of the stubborn refusal to accept anything less than the best that this country can be.”
Don’t miss Sarah Estrella’s ongoing Marriage Equality reporting! For the latest Sex & Relationships headlines, please subscribe to this column (above) and follow @Sexaminer on Twitter.