Marriage equality is now legal in New York after Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed a bill that was narrowly passed by state lawmakers Friday night. The win is considered an important step for advocates, given the state’s size, New York City’s international stature, and its role as the birthplace of the gay rights movement – which is considered to have started with the Stonewall riots in Greenwich Village in 1969.
Passage of the measure was made possible by two Republican senators who had been undecided. Sen. Stephen Saland voted against a similar bill in 2009. “While I understand that my vote will disappoint many, I also know my vote is a vote of conscience,” Saland said in a statement before the vote. “I am doing the right thing in voting to support marriage equality.” Sen. Mark Grisanti, a GOP freshman from Buffalo, also said he would vote for the bill. Grisanti said he could not deny anyone what he called basic rights.
New York, the nation’s third-most-populous-state, joins Connecticut, Iowa, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Vermont and Washington, D.C., in allowing gay couples to wed.