New York becomes 6th state to legalise same sex marriage.

Posted: June 25, 2011 in Gay Rights, US

On Friday night New York became the sixth state in the US to legalize same-sex marriage joining New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Iowa, Vermont, Washington DC. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed the state’s marriage equality bill hours after it passed the Republican-controlled Senate with a 33-to-29 vote; making it the first time a state Senate with a Republican majority has approved such a bill and keeping his promise to sign the bill as soon as he received it after the Senate vote – rather than wait the usual 10 days.

“New York has finally torn down the barrier that 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,” Mr. Cuomo said in a statement.

Activists on both sides of the issue gathered in the state capitol, Albany. Gay rights activists said the approval of the bill was a key victory for them, in what is seen as the birthplace of the US gay rights movement, whereas opponents of the marriage equality law have vowed to take political action against any Republican who voted for the bill. Cuomo credited the four Republican senators who joined the majority of the state’s Senate Democrats for the passage of the bill, saying they were “people of courage.”

“I think it was politically more dangerous for a Republican,” Cuomo told reporters late Friday. “The conservative party was threatening them with consequences … and they did it anyway.”

Marriage equality has become a contentious social issue ahead of next year’s presidential and congressional elections and although there is still much ground to be made Friday’s vote is a major step forward.

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