Last night not only did the New York State Senate finally pass the marriage equality bill, Governor Andrew Cuomo managed to sign it into law at 11:55 p.m. Since the law will go into effect after 30 days, New York should start seeing legal same-sex marriages by late July.
Cuomo, who had made marriage equality one of his major priorities in his first year, reportedly seemed ebullient as he made a victory lap through the Senate with his daughters last night.
And Cuomo wasn't the only pol happy about last night's vote. Its passage was immediately met by celebrations across the state (particularly in the West Village, where the gay rights movement began), and a flurry of press releases from New York officials hailing the historic vote.
Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz said:
It is impossible to overstate the momentous history we witnessed in Albany tonight with legislative approval of marriage equality for all New Yorkers. With his signature, Governor Cuomo will finally put an end to what can only be described as government-sanctioned discrimination against our lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community. Whatever your religious convictions, love is love—and we need to do everything possible to foster relationships and families, not tear them down...Now that New York has become the sixth and largest state to adopt marriage equality, let’s hope that the remaining 44 states and President Obama ‘evolve’ as I have, and support equal marriage rights for all Americans, so that they can pursue life, liberty, the pursuit of happiness—and, yes, love.
Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz, Jr., whose father was the only Democrat to vote against the measure last night, put out this sweet statement:
Now that the debate on marriage equality has been resolved, it is time for us to come together and move forward in a positive manner with respect for our fellow Bronxites and all New Yorkers, irrespective of our differences, backgrounds and religious beliefs. We must both celebrate and build upon our diversity for a better and brighter future for all of our hard working families. I also wish to complement Governor Andrew Cuomo for working sincerely and diligently to ensure that the appropriate balance of protections are ensured within the bill.
With that said, I now have two marriages to look forward to—those of my niece Erica Diaz and my chief-of-staff Paul Del Duca.
And Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer had nice words for Albany, too, saying:
Today is a historic day for civil rights in New York and throughout the country. We have erased a blemish that has shamed our proud history of leading where others follow. We as a state have fulfilled our promise. In the eyes of the law, our brothers, sisters, friends and neighbors are no longer second-class citizens.
There are few times in life when we can do the right thing for the right people at the right moment. This is one of those times. It is a particularly heartening moment for me because marriage equality is an issue I have championed since my time serving in the State Assembly. It has been a long, long journey, but the important thing is that we finally got here.
During the month when we commemorate the birth of the modern gay-rights movement in Greenwich Village, it is fitting that lawmakers on both sides of the aisle have come together to make marriage equality a reality.
They know—we all know—that what binds us all is far greater than what separates us.