News / USA

New York State Approves Same-Sex Marriage

Carl Bazil and Eric Price celebrate in Manhattan's west village following the passing of the same-sex marriage bill by the New York Senate, June 24, 2011
Carl Bazil and Eric Price celebrate in Manhattan's west village following the passing of the same-sex marriage bill by the New York Senate, June 24, 2011

Multimedia

Audio

New York has legalized same sex marriage, making it the sixth U.S state to do so.   Gay rights advocates call the vote a major victory in their quest for equality.

The New York State Senate approved the legislation Friday night by a vote of 33 to 29, as four Republican lawmakers crossed party lines and voted in favor of the bill.  Governor Andrew Cuomo, who had pushed for the bill, quickly signed the legislation into law meaning, pending court challenges, same sex couples can begin legally marrying in New York in 30 days.

"New York made a powerful statement, not just for the people of New York, but [also for] the people all across this nation.  We reached a new level of social justice this evening," Cuomo said.

New York could become a destination for same sex couples wanting to legally marry because the state has no residency requirement for obtaining a marriage license.

Gay rights advocates filled the statehouse in Albany Friday night to celebrate the historic legislation, with many couples saying they were already planning their weddings.  New York, with a population of almost 20 million people, is by far the largest U.S. state to approve same-sex marriage and a major gay pride parade is scheduled for New York City on Sunday.

In Manhattan, gay rights advocates gathered at bars and restaurants to watch the vote and celebrate its passage. Jason Carson said now gay couples will have the same choices and protections afforded straight couples.

"Now, anybody who wants to get married in the state can," said Carson.  "It was always a civil rights issue and now the choice is theirs."

This was not the first time gay marriage had come up for a vote in New York.  Last year the measure passed the Assembly, but failed to move through the Senate.  This year, Republicans in both chambers pushed for more legal protections for religious groups that object to gay marriage or do not wish to perform the ceremony.

Opponents of the measure had also spent the last week in Albany trying to persuade lawmakers to abandon the bill.  New York's Archbishop Timothy Dolan derided the measure saying it sought to redefine the definition of marriage, which he says is solely the union between a man and woman.

One lawmaker who voted against the measure, Senator Ruben Diaz, told the Senate he could not change his stance on what he believes is the definition of a marital union.

"God, not man, has set the definition of marriage a long time ago," said Diaz.

Advocates say the new law is also historic because more conservative Republican lawmakers were able to move across party lines and strike an agreement with Democrats on a major piece of legislation.

You May Like

UN Fears Rights Violations in China-backed Projects

UNHCHR investigates link between financing development and ignoring safeguards for human rights More

Boko Haram Violence Tests Nigerians’ Faith in Buhari

New president has promised to stem insurgency; he’s scheduled to meet with President Obama at White House July 20 More

Social Media Network Wants Privacy in User’s Hands

Encryption's popularity in messaging is exploding; now it's the foundation of a new social network More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Making Music, Fleeing Bombs: New Film on Sudan’s Internal Refugeesi
X
Carolyn Weaver
July 06, 2015 6:47 PM
In 2012, Sudanese filmmaker Hajooj Kuka went to make a documentary among civil war refugees in Sudan’s Blue Nile and Nuba Mountains region. What he found surprised him: music was helping to save people from bombing raids by their own government. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video Making Music, Fleeing Bombs: New Film on Sudan’s Internal Refugees

In 2012, Sudanese filmmaker Hajooj Kuka went to make a documentary among civil war refugees in Sudan’s Blue Nile and Nuba Mountains region. What he found surprised him: music was helping to save people from bombing raids by their own government. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video Rice Farmers Frustrated As Drought Grips Thailand

A severe drought in Thailand is limiting the growing season of the country’s important rice crop. Farmers are blaming the government for not doing more to protect a key export. Steve Sandford reports from Chiang Mai, Thailand.
Video

Video 'From This Day Forward' Reveals Difficult Journey of Transgender Parent

In her documentary, "From This Day Forward", filmmaker Sharon Shattuck reveals the personal journey of her transgender father, as he told his family that he always felt he was a woman inside and decided to live as one. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Floodwaters Threaten Iconic American Home

The Farnsworth House in the Midwest State of Illinois is one of the most iconic homes in America. Thousands of tourists visit the site every year. Its location near a river inspired the design of the house, but, as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, that very location is now threatening the existence of this National Historic Landmark.
Video

Video Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountain

Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Xenophobia Victims in South Africa Flee Violence, Then Return

Many Malawians fled South Africa early this year after xenophobic attacks on African immigrants. But many quickly found life was no better at home and have returned to South Africa – often illegally and without jobs, and facing the tough task of having to start over. Lameck Masina and Anita Powell file from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Obama on Cuba: This is What Change Looks Like

President Barack Obama says the United States will soon reopen its embassy in Cuba for the first time since 1961, ending a half-century of isolation. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.

VOA Blogs