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NEW YORK STATE PASSES HISTORIC SAME-SEX MARRIAGE BILL

Same-sex couples throughout New York can now say, “I do.”
The fourth time was the charm for supporters of same-sex marriage as the New York Senate passed the historic bill by a vote of 33 to 29 in Albany late Friday night.
New York becomes the sixth and largest state to legalize same-sex marriages joining Connecticut, Iowa, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Vermont and Washington, D.C.
“With this historic legislation, we can ensure that same-sex couples in New York are finally given the rights and protections they deserve,” said Governor Andrew Cuomo.
Rallies for and against the bill gathered throughout the state as the debate raged in Albany. The bill was a hot-button issue with over 35,000 viewers tuning into the vote on the Senate’s live feed, while same-sex marriage and NYS Senate trended on Twitter.
The bill passed in the Assembly Wednesday, June 15, but the Senate waited on voting until amendments were added, giving greater protections to religious institutions.
The assembly passed the amendments earlier in the night. Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos finally announced Friday evening that same sex marriage legislation would be brought to the full Senate for a vote.
“As I have said many times, this is a very difficult issue and it will be a vote of conscience for every member of the Senate,” Skelos said.
The bill was the last bill on the docket on Friday night, four days after the legislative session was scheduled to end.
Same-sex marriage bills have failed to pass in three previous Senate votes.
Cuomo, who introduced the bill last week, spoke with Republican senators thought to be on the fence urging them to vote yes. Mayor Michael Bloomberg also visited Albany late last week to throw his support behind the bill calling same-sex marriage legislation the “next great barrier.”
“In recent weeks, I have had many conversations with our state senators. I emphasized that not only is marriage equality consistent with bedrock American principles, but it is also consistent with bedrock Republican Party principles of liberty and freedom – and the Republicans who stood up today for those principles will long be remembered for their courage, foresight, and wisdom,” said Bloomberg. “In fact, 10 or 20 or 30 years from now, I believe they will look back at this vote as one of their finest, proudest moments.”
Same-sex couples can now legally wed, giving them the same rights as married couples of the opposite sex in New York State. Before the bill’s passing, same-sex couples could not marry within the state, but New York recognized marriages performed elsewhere.
The bill will take effect in 30 days.

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