By NICHOLAS CONFESSORE and MICHAEL BARBARO
Published: June 24, 2011
ALBANY — Lawmakers voted late Friday to legalize same-sex marriage, making New York the largest state where gay and lesbian couples will be able to wed, and giving the national gay-rights movement new momentum from the state where it was born.
The same-sex marriage bill was approved on a 33-to-29 vote, as 4 Republican state senators joined 29 Democrats in voting for the bill. The Senate galleries were so packed with supporters and opponents that the fire marshals closed them off. And along the Great Western Staircase, outside the Senate chamber, about 100 demonstrators chanted and waved placards throughout the night — separated by a generation, a phalanx of state troopers and 10 feet of red marble.
“Support traditional marriage,” read signs held by opponents. “Love is love, Vote Yes,” declared those in the hands of the far more youthful group of people who supported it.
Senate approval was the final hurdle for the same-sex marriage legislation, which is strongly supported by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo and was approved last week by the Assembly. Mr. Cuomo is expected to sign the measure soon, and the law will go into effect 30 days later, meaning that same-sex couples could begin marrying in New York by midsummer.
Passage of same-sex marriage here followed a daunting run of defeats in other states where voters barred same-sex marriage by legislative action, constitutional amendment or referendum. Just five states currently permit same-sex marriage: Connecticut, Iowa, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Vermont, as well as the District of Columbia....
It will be interesting to see what the effect of this is, and how long it lasts. How long will it be before some conservative organization challenges the law in court? (At the moment, New York does not have an initiative and referendum process, although the Senate approved the draft law this very session, only two weeks ago. It's not clear from what I've found whether the Assembly approved a bill on that topic or not. If they did, it would be a change to the NY state constitution, so it would need to be approved by the Assembly and Senate again next year, and then it would go out to the citizenry for a vote up or down. And THEN, once that was approved, the people of NY could decide at the ballot box whether or not allowing people to marry whom they choose is in fact a threat to the fabric of the republic itself. (Of course, if it gets to the ballot box, they WILL decide to revoke the law, but it'll take a while to get there.)
So, basically, we've go the northeast (notably minus Maine, of course), DC (which is so ironic I just can't stand it), and Iowa ... where they're punishing the justices who said that the Iowa state constitution by voting them off the bench, one by one. So there's that.
And everywhere else that the issue has come up, the people have said, "ick ick ick ick ICK! No! We do not believe that all people are created equal! We do not believe that everyone is entitled to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness!" Which is the sort of thing that happens when the majority gets to vote on whether or not the minorities should be allowed to exercise the rights to which they are entitled as fellow citizens of the country.
But still. New York said yea. And that's something, for today.Posted by iain at June 24, 2011 10:46 PM