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A Look At The History Of Gay Rights In New York State

Marchers hold signs thanking Governor Andrew Cuomo for keeping his campaign promise and legalizing Same-Sex Marriage during the 2011 NYC LGBT Pride March on the streets of Manhattan on June 26, 2011. (Photo by Jemal Countess/Getty Images)

Marchers hold signs thanking Governor Andrew Cuomo for keeping his campaign promise and legalizing Same-Sex Marriage during the 2011 NYC LGBT Pride March on the streets of Manhattan on June 26, 2011. (Photo by Jemal Countess/Getty Images)

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NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – The fight to legalize same-sex marriage in New York state didn’t happen overnight. Gay rights advocates have been fighting for decades to make it happen.

The 1969 Stonewall riots in Greenwich Village are considered by some as the birth place of the gay rights movement.
Decades later, the struggle for equality continued.

In February of 2004, Mayor Jason West of New Paltz began performing same-sex marriages on the steps of town hall.
The following month, he was slapped with charges for performing marriages without a license.

It would be another three years before marriage equality advocates would have a reason to celebrate. The Assembly passed a bill legalizing gay marriage, but it died in the Senate. 

In 2008, Governor David Paterson issued a memo directing all state agencies to revise their policies and recognize same-sex marriages performed elsewhere.

Then in April of 2009, a week after Vermont made same-sex marriages legal, Governor Paterson ignited debate again, deciding to introduce a gay-marriage bill in Albany.

The democratically lead Assembly passed the legislation but it again failed in the Senate.

Last month, they did it again, but this time after days of negotiations, several state senators changed their votes. One month ago today, victory in the battle that started decades ago.

There are still some threatening to challenge the new law in court.