Saturday, June 25, 2011

New York state senate approves gay marriage

Senator Thomas Duane, left and New York Governor Andrew Cuomo talk in the Senate Chamber at the Capitol in Albany, New York, after gay marriage was legalised after a vote on June 24, 2011. -- PHOTO: AP

NEW YORK - NEW York lawmakers narrowly voted to legalise same-sex marriage on Friday, handing activists a breakthrough victory in the state where the American gay rights movement was born.
New York will become the sixth state where gay couples can wed and the biggest by far.

Gay rights advocates are hoping the vote will galvanise the movement around the US and help it regain momentum after an almost identical bill was defeated here in 2009 and other similar measures failed in recent years.

Though New York is a relative latecomer in allowing gay marriage, it is considered an important prize for advocates, given the state's size and 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.

The New York bill cleared the Republican-controlled state Senate on a 33-29 vote. The Democrat-led Assembly, which passed a different version last week, is expected to pass the new version with stronger religious exemptions and Democratic Governor Andrew Cuomo, who campaigned on the issue last year, has promised to sign it. Same-sex couples can begin marrying begin 30 days after that. The passage of New York's legislation was made possible in two Republican senators who had been undecided.

Senator Stephen Saland pledged the deciding vote, after voting against a similar bill in 2009, helping kill the measure and dealing a blow to the gay rights movement. -- AP

No comments: