In the United States gays and lesbians can legally marry in New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Iowa, Vermont, Washington, DC and now, after a grueling overtime session in the state legislature on Friday, New York.
The Republican-controlled New York Senate approved a bill that gives all couples in the state the freedom to marry. With a population over 19 million, the number of Americans living in a state where gay marriage is legal will double when Gov. Andrew Cuomo signs the bill into law. The bill passed by a vote 33-29.
“This is a historic day for our movement and for New Yorkers who will finally be able to enjoy the same freedom to decide whether and who to marry that other New Yorkers have long enjoyed,” said Kate Kendell, Executive Director for the National Center for Lesbian Rights. “All couples deserve to express their love and commitment through marriage if they choose to do so, and today’s vote is one more step toward recognizing the true diversity of families and the full equality of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people nationwide.”
“I have never be prouder to be a lifelong New Yorker than I am this evening,” said Grammy award winner Cyndi Lauper. “New York now joins a growing number of states leading the nation towards the future we have always been destined for, a future where everyone is treated equally, with dignity and respect."
At New York City's Stonewall Inn, the Greenwich Village pub that spawned the gay rights movement on June 28, 1969, Scott Redstone watched New York sign the historic same-sex marriage law, and then popped the question to his partner of 29 years.
There will certainly be many more proposals as the celebrations continue at Pride events already scheduled to take place this weekend in New York, as well as Chicago, Minneapolis and San Franciso. Gay rights supporters hope New York's new law will have a ripple effect across the nation.
Gay marriage is still banned in 39 states across the country.