June 24, 2011, Melanie Nathan
Today, the color changed on the Empire State Building – it became a rainbow! The New York State Senate passed the Marriage Equality Act, a bill that extends the right to marry to same-sex couples, in 33-29 vote. The bill was previously approved by the New York State Assembly and now heads to New York Governor Cuomo’s desk. He is expected to sign the bill.
This sets a unique standard where the first Republican-controlled legislature has passed a vote extending marriage rights to gay and lesbian couples. Previously approved in the New York State Assembly, the legislation passed in the Senate 33-29, after an extension of the Senate’s legislative session.
In response, Jim Carroll, Interim Executive Director for Equality California issued the following statement:
“We are thrilled that thousands of same-sex couples in New York have finally won the freedom to marry and security and respect for their families. New York now joins the ever-growing chorus of Americans calling for full equality. We congratulate Empire State Pride Agenda for their tremendous work in making this historic triumph possible.
“In California, we are working tirelessly to restore that same basic right for all same-sex couples in loving, committed relationships, and we hope this momentous victory ripples across our nation.”
New York will now join Massachusetts, Iowa, Vermont, New Hampshire, Connecticut and the District of Columbia in granting same-sex couples the right to legally marry.
Cindi Lauper also sent out the following lead comment to her e-mail blast: “I have never be prouder to be a lifelong New Yorker than I am this evening. In a historic vote, the New York Senate passed marriage equality by a vote of 33-29! New York now joins a growing number of states leading the nation towards the future we have always been destined for, a future where everyone is treated equally, with dignity and respect. ”
AFER, the Group fighting for same-sex marriage against Prop 8 in California: “New Yorkers have plenty to celebrate this Pride Month. There’s no doubt that today will be revered as a major turning point in civil rights history. A bipartisan group of legislators have affirmed that equal rights for every citizen is not a partisan issue, but an American value.”
John Baker, equality activist: (Via Facebook) “OK… Some of these names you may recognize, some you may not… I want to thank: Scott Amundsen, Claire Equality Fauci, Andrew Cuomo, Evan Wolfson, Rachel Maddow, Melanie Nathan, Pam Spaulding, Alvin McEwen and all of the WONDERFUL Nyeeeew Yawk-uzzz who’ve been holding their senators’ feet to the fire over the last weeks!”
San Francisco Pride starts tonight and what pride we have: Marriage Equality USA applauds the passage of equal marriage rights today in New York. The Marriage Equality Act has now passed the New York State Senate, thanks to support from both Democrats and Republicans.“Today is a great day for New Yorkers and for Americans everywhere who celebrate equality under the law. Thanks to bi-partisan support, New York will become the largest state in our union to provide equal marriage rights for all,” said John Lewis, Marriage Equality USA’s Legal Analyst.
“New York legislators have reached across the aisle so that loving, committed same-sex couples can walk down the aisle and finally live their happily ever after. We look forward to the day when Proposition 8 is struck down for good, so that we can truly have marriage equality from sea to shining sea,” noted Stuart Gaffney, Marriage Equality USA’s Media Director.
“Governor Cuomo introduced this bill by saying, ‘Marriage Equality is the next chapter of our civil rights story,’” added Gaffney. “Marriage discrimination is now coming to an end in the Empire State, and today there is more reason than ever to say I Love New York!” Founded in 2000, Marriage Equality USA is a national grassroots organization whose mission is to secure legally-recognized civil marriage equality for all, at the federal and state level, without regard to gender identity or sexual orientation. For more information go towww.marriageequality.org. Follow us on Twitter @meusa. Find us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/marriageequalityusa –
Posted by Melanie Nathan – Ambassador to Africa for MEUSA