Marriage Equality Passes New York Legislature

June 24, 2011
Today, the New York State Senate finally approved the Marriage Equality Act, legislation that will establish marriage rights for same-sex couples in New York State and extend the associated rights, responsibilities, and protections of marriage to those couples. The vote by the Senate followed closely on the heels of passage for the fourth time by the Assembly on June 15th.

Immediately following the Senate vote, Assembly Member O'Donnell stated:

Thomas Jefferson once wrote, “our civil rights have no dependence on our religious opinions.” Today, the New York State Legislature has affirmed the truth of that fundamental principle with the passage of the Marriage Equality Act.

This day is a momentous one, not only for the thousands of same-sex couples across our state who find themselves suddenly on the cusp equality, now awaiting only one person's signature before being able to marry, but for all New Yorkers who have recognized and fought against legalized discrimination. I have been with my partner John for over 30 years, and, at long last, the state where we were both born, raised, and have lived our adult lives has agreed that all New Yorkers deserve Marriage Equality in the eyes of the law.

Speaker Silver and my courageous colleagues in the Assembly who have staunchly supported this bill since 2007, when we became only the third legislative body nationwide to approve same-sex marriage without a court order, deserve immense praise for their continued and repeated votes for Marriage Equality. The State Senators who possessed the courage and conviction today to vote for my equality receive my profound thanks for taking this bold step forward. And, Governor Cuomo, who has been a resolute and powerful ally in this fight since long before the beginning of his term this past January, cannot be thanked enough for his continued support in this battle for justice.

I am proud to have played a central role in this crucial moment for our state. Once Marriage Equality is signed into law, our state will be the most populous in the entire nation with these rights. I hope that with this prominence, our great state will shine as a beacon of equality and lead other states from the darkness of injustice. I will never forget this day.

The Marriage Equality Act now heads to Governor Cuomo's desk to await signature into law.