The Marriage Equality Act passed the assembly 80-63. According to Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s office, it would grant same sex couples the right to marry as well as several other rights, benefits and protections that are currently limited to the married couples of opposite sex.
Democratic Assemblyman Daniel O’Donnell stated his support to the bill by saying that this is an immense step toward achieving equality for all in New York. And also expressed his desire to marry his partner.
Wednesday night’s debates included discussions on religious, traditions, customs and families.
Democratic Assemblyman Richard Gottfried stated “Same-sex marriage is a fundamental human right”
Democratic Assemblyman Micah Kellner also supported the bill, saying, “This is about people’s happiness”.
Republicans defended their opposition, saying it did not mean they were intolerant.
“It doesn’t make me a bigot”, said Assemblyman Steve McLaughlin. “It makes me a traditional American.”
Republican Nancy Calhoun said “Marriage to her has a separate importance and it has to do with a man and a woman.”
The state Senate rejected a bill to legalize same-sex marriage in 2009. Wednesday’s vote was the fourth time same-sex marriages were approved in the Assembly, according to O’Donnell.
Currently, 31 Senators, including two Republicans, are in favor of the bill. Backers need one more GOP member to vote in favor for it to pass.
Although New York does not grant same-sex marriages, a 2008 appellate court ruling upheld the right of couples to have their same-sex marriages recognized if they are performed elsewhere.
The act would amend the state Domestic Relations Law that “no application for a marriage license shall be denied on the ground that the parties are of the same or a different sex”.
Five states namely Massachusetts, Connecticut, Lowa, Vermont and New Hampshire and the District of Columbia currently grant same-sex marriage licenses.
Report by Alka