N.Y. Becomes 6th State To Legalize Same-Sex Marriage Legislation

Gov. Cuomo Signs Bill Into Law; Archbishop Dolan Condemns Decision

Updated at 1:13 a.m., June 24, 2011

ALBANY (CBSNewYork/AP) — The right of same-sex couples to wed became reality in New York state late Friday night after Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed the controversial Marriage Equality Act into law.

The Democratic governor signed the measure shortly before midnight, following up on a promise to put his name on the legislation as soon as he received it rather than wait the usual 10 days to sign it for it to become law.

Cuomo was put in position to act after the Republican-controlled Senate ended a week of heated protests and thoughtful debate by narrowly voting in favor of the bill 90 minutes earlier.

Advocates are calling it a historic step as New York is now the sixth but by far the largest state to legalize same-sex marriage. Cuomo’s signature means same-sex weddings could begin within 30 days.

“The past six months we didn’t work like we were Democrats and Republicans. We worked as New Yorkers,” Cuomo said at a press conference following the much-anticipated vote. “People of the state of New York were engaged in this session. They weighed in and they made a difference. Democracy works when people speak and the people spoke in volumes.

“This state when it is at its finest is a beacon for social justice. The legacy of this state was we were the progressive capital of the country. The other states look to New York for the progressive direction. And we reached a new level of social justice this evening.”

The bill was sent to the floor just after 5:30 p.m. Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos announced the bill would brought up for an “up or down vote.” At approximately 10:30 p.m. the Marriage Equality Act passed by a vote of 33-29, setting off a cascade of cheers and jeers inside the chamber and all over the state.

“We are leaders and we join other proud states that recognize our families and the battle will now go on in other states,” said Sen. Thomas Duane, a Democrat.

The nation’s third-most populous state joins Connecticut, Iowa, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Vermont and Washington, D.C., in allowing same-sex couples to wed.

Earlier Friday night, the Assembly passed amendments protecting religious groups that oppose gay marriage from discrimination lawsuits. Amid cheers, the Assembly passed the religious exemptions by a vote of 82-47. The chamber passed the main gay marriage bill a week ago.

But the real story unfolded later in the evening when Senate, following several recesses and statements pro and against, passed the bill.

New York Archbishop Timothy Dolan quickly condemned the decision, releasing the following statement:

“The passage by the Legislature of a bill to alter radically and forever humanity’s historic understanding of marriage leaves us deeply disappointed and troubled.

“We strongly uphold the Catholic Church’s clear teaching that we always treat our homosexual brothers and sisters with respect, dignity and love. But we just as strongly affirm that marriage is the joining of one man and one woman in a lifelong, loving union that is open to children, ordered for the good of those children and the spouses themselves. This definition cannot change, though we realize that our beliefs about the nature of marriage will continue to be ridiculed, and that some will even now attempt to enact government sanctions against churches and religious organizations that preach these timeless truths.

“We worry that both marriage and the family will be undermined by this tragic presumption of government in passing this legislation that attempts to redefine these cornerstones of civilization.

“Our society must regain what it appears to have lost – a true understanding of the meaning and the place of marriage, as revealed by God, grounded in nature, and respected by America’s foundational principles.”

The Catholic League of New York echoed Dolan’s concerns.

“It hasn’t been approved by the people. It’s the legislators that have shoved this down people’s throat,” director of communications Jeff Field said. “To redefine it to be between a man and a man or a woman and a woman, why stop there? Why not a man and two women or a man and two men? Where does it stop?”

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who was lauded by the governor for championing the same-sex marriage cause from the beginning, called the vote “a historic triumph for equality and freedom.”

CBS 2’s Sean Hennessey reports the streets of lower Manhattan were filled with jubilation as news of the vote came down.

“I can’t say enough about this. It’s really amazing,” said Cathryn Guerriere of Brooklyn.

“It means all of my friends can finally do the thing that they wanted to do, that I can do. It means that we’re equal,” said Alison Casillo of Peter Cooper Village.

“Anyone that wants to get married in the state can. It was always a civil rights issue and now the choice is theirs,” Mark Kerrigan said.

The vote was a crucial victory for Gov. Cuomo, who said same-sex marriage was a top priority.

“It’s a big step forward. I’m so excited. We’ve been working on this for decades,” said Gilbert Baker of Harlem.

“We’ll get married one day but not next week. We’re not stepping into City Hall tomorrow morning,” Flatiron’s Alex Kristoxeak said with a smile.

Earlier in the evening the measure gained serious momentum as a veteran Republican senator said he would vote “yes,” seemingly giving the bill the support it needed to become law. Senator Stephen Saland said he had long been undecided. He voted against a similar bill in 2009, helping kill the measure and dealing a blow to the national gay rights movement. Before he announced his intention on Friday night, 31 senators were in favor, one short of a majority.

“While I understand that my vote will disappoint many, I also know my vote is a vote of conscience,” Saland said in a statement prior to the vote. “I am doing the right thing in voting to support marriage equality.”

It turned out, Saland provided the passage with some cushion.

Protesters had crowded the halls of the state Capitol for days, hoping and praying for and against the gay marriage bill. They had been wondering if the issue would ever be brought to a vote in the Republican-controlled Senate.

Sources told CBS 2’s Marcia Kramer that the bill was put in position to be brought to the floor because a new round of protections for religious institutions had been secured.

New Yorkers United for Marriage, an advocacy group, said “We remain steadfast in our demand that the state uphold its obligation to the people of the state of New York and allow a vote on marriage equality.”

Senate leaders met behind closed doors for hours Friday. Some members reportedly didn’t want to see the politically charged issue drag on into the weekend and against the Gay Pride Parade in Manhattan on Sunday and religious services in churches throughout the state, which would have given priests and ministers opposed to same-sex marriage another opportunity to sermonize against it.

WCBS 880’s Marla Diamond With New Yorkers United For Marriage And State Senator Michael Gianaris/%20

Opponents of the measure have vowed to vote against Republicans who supported the measure. Thursday, many at the Capitol chanted “If you vote yes, we will vote you out.”

Al Jones of 1010 WINS reported that around 3 p.m., Republican senators were holding a closed-door meeting to decide whether to send the bill to the floor for a vote. Deputy Majority Leader Thomas Libous, a Broome County Republican, said GOP senators didn’t want to further stretch the 2011 session, which was supposed to have ended Monday.

Senate Democrats said the Republicans were mismanaging important bills, including gay marriage.

“Where is marriage?” asked Democratic Sen. Liz Krueger of Manhattan. “Bring it to the floor. Conventional wisdom is that if it comes to the floor, it will pass. Why not bring it to the floor? It’s outrageous.”

“Instead, we were discussing corn and onions most of the week,” she said, referring to a debate over naming the state vegetable.

Senator Adriano Espaillat, another Democrat from Manhattan, noted the fervent demonstrators waiting for a vote.

“We should stop playing with peoples’ lives,” Espaillat said. “I have been here 14 years. I haven’t seen this level of passion and anxiety … it’s very scary right now.”

Lawmakers had been focused on amendments that would protect religious groups from discrimination lawsuits in the event that they do not want to perform gay marriage ceremonies. Thursday’s meetings went late into the evening, wrapping up at 11 p.m. Republican Sen. Greg Ball, who said he would vote against the measure, nonetheless said it would likely pass if it comes to a full Senate vote.

New York City police commissioner Ray Kelly was asked if he was at all concerned about the possibility of pop-up demonstrations, especially during Sunday’s parade.

WCBS 880’s Rich Lamb With NYC Police Commissioner Ray Kelly

“You know, it is what it is. We’re a big police force. We’re able to react to those sorts of things. It’s something that we have to do,” he says.

Kelly said the department has deployed additional resources where the parade ends on Christopher Street, as he put it, because that event goes well into the night and the celebration goes into Monday morning.

Are you glad the bill passed? Sound off in our comments section.

(TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

More from Marcia Kramer
  • X

    ill never understand their way of thinkin’!!!!!!

  • bigben

    The faith community ( of all religions who are God-fearing) needs to respond to this travesty.

    I propose from now on, we refer to every wedding and marriage between a man and woman as “a traditional marriage” to avoid any confusion with the legalized sodomite marriage.

  • Fabian Starr

    I am sometimes embarrassed to be associated with uneducated, unsophisticated Americas that really are at their core, hateful, depressed, and vengeful. They are nothing like the biblical Jesus at all, Jesus said to his disciples and people that “some are born this way”… Why can’t true lovers of humanity and the bible ever see that?

    The real problem is not the Gay marriage issue, it’s the educational and compassion issues of this country. And the sick part of it all is, none of your except for maybe 1 out of 500000 really know what America is truthfully all about.

    If you love Jesus , then act like Jesus…

    “Not everyone can accept this teaching, but only those to whom it is given. For there are eunuchs who have been so from birth, and there are eunuchs who have been made eunuchs by others, and there are eunuchs who have made themselves eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of heaven. Let anyone accept this who can.” (Matthew 19:11-12

  • Retrovirus

    Thank God for A I D S!!!!

  • AIDS

    Thank God for AIDS!!!

  • littlestar

    Congradulations to the organisers of the entire gay rights movement. Your poo-de-ta of American culture is finally complete. Mr Goebbles would be proud of you I think. I would like to say goodbye to all my dear atheist and gay friends that I have met on thjis site, Rodin, Micheal H… I don’t know why you could not accept me for who I am as a person… By law I must say, Luv ya ! I sure hpe ya’ll are right. Gotta go…moveing to Mississippi….

  • Michael

    What a disgrace…. This is not marriage- Cuomo and the legislature are destroyig the holiness and purity that is the union of marriage. Man and Woman marry. Not man and man, not woman and woman. I’m disgusted

  • Anatole Pushkin

    AAnita Bryant for President!!!

  • littlestar

    Now you allow all the anti gay marriage posts in. You make me sick, Mr. censor. I regrete nothing. Your truth is yor reflection. Luv ya !

  • Anatole Pushkin

    Someone explained to me how two creatures of the same sex copulate. He had to stop because it made me puke. This nightmare makes me sick. I feel very, very bad thinking what is happening to New York. The Pope should excommunicate Cuomo. Anyhow, he is already an adulterer. Paladino should have won. That blind governor should have run for reelection.

  • littlestar

    Congradulations to the organizers of the entire gay rights movement, your poo-de-ta of American culture is finally complete ! Mr. Goebbels would admire you I think. I would like to say goodbye to all my dear athiest, and gay friends that I have met on this site, Rodin, Michael H … I don’t understand why you couldn’t accept me for who I am as a person ? I must, by law, say Luv ya! Sure do hope ya’ll are right. Gotta go… moving to Mississippi … .

  • junior arnold

    that is a very disgusting thing new york would allow; let alone america. itms one thing that we all do wrongful things but it’s another to approve… will killing be approved? child porn? sexual harrassment? how how about marijuana? they might as well legalize that too since they are on a roll. let’s not be naive and ignorant. we all know gay marriage is unethical and will never be accepted…. there must ba a catch…

  • Jason

    all the haters got to this page from the drudge report.

    • Joe

      Shut your pie hole, you sodomist.

  • Bob Fowler

    Just out of curiosity, will gay couples have to teach their adopted children that being straight is a good thing? Will the birds and the bees be changing to the birds and the birds? Where will babies come from? They can’t come from sexual intercourse if you don’t have a male and female.

    Or is it going to be the rights of the gay couple to instill only gay lifestyle values into their adopted children? Imagine the horror when Johnny comes home with Mary?

  • twilliam

    Now all we need to do is figure out a way to get a man pregnant and somehow get the gals to produce sperm and equality will truly be here.

  • dale

    If you are for gay marriage, what are your limits? How many gays in a marriage? The next debates will be over the legal age limit, followed by trans-species unions. Think that’s funny? Just wait a few years. Without a standard, there ARE no limits.

  • Anatole Pushkin

    Allah will not allow Libya to be occupied by Gay Infidels.

  • Baddap

    MIght as well give all the illegal immigrants rights too…This country is taking freedom and liberty to another level.

    • Bob Fowler

      Here here!!! Let’s ban all laws. While we are at it, there are a couple of laws of physics that offend me…like gravity. It makes me seem fat. And time makes me seem old.

  • Anatole Pushkin

    With gay marriage. we may as well give back New York to the Indians.

  • Anatole Pushkin

    The road to hell is paved with gay marriage.

  • anatolepushkin

    “Dies irae, dies illa…”
    Gay military. Gay marriage.
    This is the end of the Fortress America as World Power.
    Russia and China are now the World Powers.
    This is the death of Christian civlization, too.
    We have no right to be called Christians anymore.
    A prelude to the Great Chastisement.
    This is the way America falls.
    This is the way America falls.
    Neither with a bang
    Nor with a whimper
    But with legalization of gay marriage.

  • chuck321

    I think I will marry my favorite sheep now. Why not.. its none of your business. Or maybe I’ll convert to Islam and have 4 wife’s.. that ought to be fun and it also is none of your business.

    In some religions it is fine to marry a tree or shrubbery, why not.. who are you to tell me i cant. I dont have to follow your moral code or care what you think.

    “Our society must regain what it appears to have lost – a true understanding of the meaning and the place of marriage, as revealed by God, grounded in nature, and respected by America’s foundational principles.” Well said.

    I feel sorry for these people that think tearing society apart for their own gain will bring them happiness, it will not. I do know there are 4 Rino’s that should start looking for work. Very soon.

  • JDB

    America won’t be judged because of this latest manifestation of corruption and perversion. This IS a judgment of past and continuing sin.

    God doesn’t pay at the end of every day, but in the end, He pays.

  • Cynical Tom

    Hey this is just great! So, why stop here? How long before pedophilia is legalized? Excuse me, “intergenerational intimacy” I think it is called now. Or how about incestual marriage and why not polygamy? If we’re into redefining marriage, heck make it whatever you want. And if you object, why? What gives you the right to impede on others’ “rights”? Just let everybody do what is right in their own eyes. And why should the state get involved anyway? Family is no longer the concern with this hyper-confusion over marriage.

    • Dee

      Great Job Cynical Tom! For some reason people are too stupid to understand this simple logic. And since when was marriage a right? This is what happens when there are no objective morals. Welcome to the United States of Sodom and Gomorrah, this is the land of tyranny by the way of Big Government and the home of the ignorant.

  • TomNJ

    Time will tell the long term effects of all the changes in our society. But as a 50 year old male, i can tell you the kids today are worse off than when I was a kid (overweight and undereducated), the economy is as bad as it’s ever been with no end in sight, we have a police force that thinks this is Germany of the 1930’s sometimes, and now we are saying that being gay is an acceptable “choice” for our children to live by. Maybe I am just getting older, but I do not understand how my generation, who had all these great ideals and plans, turned into this mess.

    • Bob Fowler

      Having had my first attempt at answering you censored, I will try again, in a manner that doesn’t violate my right to an opinion…

      In short, too many people are spending too much time, trying to get too much stuff that they never needed before, to waste any time raising their own kids. parental supervision, family dinners, and respect for your elders are considered ancient. Now we have television raising our kids from pre-school through puberty with the morals that God gave jackals. We invented the term ‘politically correct’, and then watched it be turned against us, granting powers and freedoms to every speck of society, regardless of the majority desires.

      You’re not getting too old, just wise enough to see that we as a nation are in the helical swirl.

  • dale

    If you are for gay marriage, what are your limits? How many gays in a marriage? The legal age limit will be the next barrier to fall, followed by trans-species unions. Think that’s funny? Wait a few years.

  • bill burns

    First they let the gays marry each other, next they will be letting the coloreds marry each other. What the hell is going on?

  • Disgusted with NY

    If the government can put pictures of lung cancer on a pack of smokes,then should put pictures of people dying of aids on married gays houses . This gay marriage law is gross.

  • David P Redmond

    Why is the government is the business of issuing marriage licenses in the first place?!

  • Phil

    My Husband Tom looks soooo cute in his dress!!

  • YES Sir

    So now do you think they will legalize marriage between Humans and animals? I really want marry my sheep.

  • Spicegirl

    Does anyone know if Grisanti has picked out his dress yet?

  • alanwillingham

    If the people of New York support a state law that legalizes various forms of civil social contracts to allow participants of all orientations, that is certainly their right under the 10th Amendment.

    The only issue I have is that this dissolves the separation of Church and State by intentionally using the term “Marriage”, which is a religious term. That is a violation of the First Amendment guarantees, and intrudes on both the rights of the state and those of the people.

    Blue is Blue and Yellow is Yellow. Both are perfectly fine colors, but for Yellow to demand to be called Blue is an indication that Yellow actually wants to be thought of as Blue

    Not a promising sign

  • Jesus Montoya

    Dolan: Gay behovior is only acceptable when its a priest molesting a young kid. Otherwise, it’s a sin.

  • Mitchell

    Another state bites the dust… Oh well, be Merry and be Fruitful.

  • Rick Perry

    You are a moronic bigot. You have the brain capacity of a midge.

    All of this gay-hating is overcompensation for something. I wonder what…

    Perhaps you have pictures of Justin Bieber stapled to the ceiling of your bedroom?? You read your pages-stuck-together copy of Tiger Beat before bed?

    • NYCrazy

      People who say “You are a moronic bigot” are moronic bigots.

  • LulzSec

    Thanks for the site. WE will take a look :)

    • Fanny Forbes Franklen

      Meanwhile back at Reality Ranch … 5 or more illegal wars rage on, the dollar is about to vanish as the world reserve currency, the real unemployment rate is over 20%, the price of goods is skyrocketing, the value of homes is dropping and as the 3rd year of the depression carries on this is what we are presented as important.

      ————————— http://911essentials.com

  • Beck, Patricia S.

    June 25, 2011
    The New York State Senate has simply created an environment filled with more FILTH. They have opened PANDORA’S BOX to create an atmosphere in which they kill decency.
    / / / end/ / /

  • Rick

    New York has officially become the worst state in the union. Hopefully someone will find a way to repeal this law

  • Strange gays

    Here come the butt pirates!!!!

  • Edward Gibbon

    An economy in shreds. 3 military campaigns none of which have defined end goals, costing taxpayers trillions, which in turns pushes the populace into economic oblivion. But none of that matters because now gays can marry each other. I see our representatives have their priorities straight. But that shouldnt surprise anyone. They are politicians after all. And these self-serving, worthless demagogues will always pander to the most vocal and annoying of their constituents, so that they retain their power. The broader interests of the nation they supposedly serve are nowhere to be seen here. All this does is further erode the fabric of a society which is already well on it’s way to decline. It’s happened before.

  • domebaby

    GAYS are the most hateful, miserable, people I have ever met. Just look at the comments here for proof.

    All the water in the ocean can’t cleanse them of their sin! (we should try though).

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