NPI's Cascadia Advocate

Offering commentary and analysis from Washington, Oregon, and Idaho, The Cascadia Advocate is the Northwest Progressive Institute's unconventional perspective on world, national, and local politics.

Friday, June 24th, 2011

Marriage equality finally becomes a reality in New York with historic vote

Moments ago, in an incred­i­bly close vote, the New York State Sen­ate joined the New York State Assem­bly in vot­ing to make mar­riage equal­i­ty the law of the land in the Empire State. The roll call was thir­ty-three to twenty-nine.

The final approval of the Mar­riage Equal­i­ty Act of 2011 con­cludes an intense effort by pro-equal­i­ty activists to con­vince a hand­ful of unde­cid­ed Repub­li­can law­mak­ers to vote yes on the leg­is­la­tion. The four Repub­li­can votes were cru­cial to pas­sage of the bill, since Repub­li­cans nar­row­ly con­trol the Sen­ate, and one mem­ber of the Sen­ate Demo­c­ra­t­ic cau­cus (Rubén Díaz, Sr.) fierce­ly oppos­es mar­riage equality.

The bill now goes to Gov­er­nor Andrew Cuo­mo, who worked care­ful­ly behind the scenes to ensure that it would receive a vote in the Empire State’s upper cham­ber. With his sig­na­ture, New York will become the sixth state where mar­riage equal­i­ty is the law of the land, join­ing Mass­a­chu­setts, Con­necti­cut, Ver­mont, New Hamp­shire, Iowa, and the Dis­trict of Colum­bia, where LGBT cou­ples can already wed.

The law is expect­ed to go into effect by mid­sum­mer, which means cou­ples can start mak­ing plans now for sum­mer weddings.

NPI con­grat­u­lates our broth­ers and sis­ters who call New York their home on this land­mark civ­il rights vic­to­ry. This is a great moment for not only the peo­ple of the Empire State, but for all of the Unit­ed States of Amer­i­ca. When­ev­er a blow is struck against dis­crim­i­na­tion and intol­er­ance, it is a great cause for celebration.

Who will be next? Who will fol­low New York’s lead?

Per­haps it will be us.

In just a few short years, our Leg­is­la­ture has banned dis­crim­i­na­tion on the basis of sex­u­al ori­en­ta­tion, per­mit­ted LGBT cou­ples to reg­is­ter as domes­tic part­ners, and then expand­ed their rights under an “every­thing but mar­riage” law, which vot­ers upheld in Novem­ber 2009 to the great dis­may of the forces of big­otry. Mar­riage equal­i­ty is now our final fron­tier. And unlike many oth­er states, to get to mar­riage equal­i­ty, we don’t have to un-amend our Con­sti­tu­tion… because it was nev­er tar­nished with an anti-equal­i­ty pro­vi­sion to begin with.

Until the day when we, too, enjoy mar­riage equal­i­ty, the work to win over hearts and minds con­tin­ues. Many peo­ple across this coun­try who pre­vi­ous­ly opposed mar­riage equal­i­ty have final­ly begun to real­ize that allow­ing LGBT cou­ples to wed does not threat­en any het­ero­sex­u­al cou­ple’s mar­riage. The change in pub­lic opin­ion that we are wit­ness­ing is very wel­come and heartening.

POSTSCRIPT: Gov­er­nor Andrew Cuo­mo has just signed the leg­is­la­tion. He evi­dent­ly did­n’t want to waste any time fol­low­ing the vote. Thus, the Mar­riage Equal­i­ty Act will go into effect one month from today.

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One Comment

  1. Thanks for cheer­ing on this sig­nif­i­cant mile­stone. It is a great day for equal­i­ty. Let’s hope WA State will be next.

    # by Janet Way :: June 24th, 2011 at 9:09 PM