Saturday, June 25, 2011

New law clears the way for gay marriage in NY

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, center, hands pens to legislators after signing into law a bill legalizing same-sex marriage, at the Capitol in Albany, N.Y., on Friday, June 24, 2011. Behind Cuomo, from left, are Assemblyman Matthew Titone, Assemblyman Daniel O'Donnell, Lt. Gov. Robert Duffy, Sen. Thomas Duane and Sen. James Alesi. (AP Photo/Mike Groll) New York becomes the sixth state where gay couples can wed, doubling the number of Americans living in a state with legal gay marriage. Pending any court challenges, legal gay marriages can begin in New York within 30 days. "That's certainly going to have a ripple effect across the nation," said Ross Levi, executive director of the Empire State Pride Agenda. "It's truly a historic night for love, our families, and democracy won." "We made a powerful statement," Cuomo said. "This state is at its finest when it is a beacon of social justice." The big win for gay rights advocates is expected to galvanize the movement around the country and help it regain momentum. A huge street party erupted outside the Stonewall Inn Friday night, with celebrants waving rainbow flags and dancing after the historic vote. The bill makes New York only the third state, after Vermont and New Hampshire, to legalize marriage through a legislative act and without being forced to do so by a court. - MICHAEL GORMLEY

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