“Like many of you, it is difficult to put into words the emotional tide engulfing me at this historical moment. For years many of us have fought to have our love, our commitments and our relationships treated with the respect and dignity opposite sex couples enjoy. It is a proud day for New York as we now recognize the legitimate union of two loving adults without discrimination. With passage of marriage equality we will not longer be treated as second class citizens.
“I want to thank all of those who came before me and ensured the passage of the Sexual Orientation Non-Discrimination Act that allowed for the protection of the lesbian, gay, and bisexual community, without which the passage of the Marriage Equality Bill would not have been possible.
“What this Legislature has done here in the last few weeks matters. The state has made possible the sanction of all loving relationships. New Yorkers from Babylon to Buffalo, from New Rochelle to Rochester, will now be able to share the rights and responsibilities that are given to them when they enter a state-sanctioned marriage.
“What this Legislature has done here in the last few weeks will validate many New York families. From today forward, when asked if they are married, they will no longer say “I can’t,” they will enjoy the support of their state to know that their relationship is real, is valid.
“What this Legislature has done here in the last few weeks has made history. Gay and lesbian couples will be able to publicly declare their love, respect and devotion to each other before their families, friends and communities.
“Each generation faces a civil rights issue, like the emancipation of slaves, the right of women to vote and hold property and, today, the right to marry. I am proud to stand with my colleagues, both straight and gay, as we join the next generation to do what is right for the state of New York.
“With pride, I thank you for giving me the privilege to be part of this landmark legislation that honors our ideals that all people are to be treated as equals.”