Assembly Passes Same-Sex Marriage Bill
May 12th, 2009

The New York State Assembly passed a bill tonight that would legalize same-sex marriage. The bill passed 89 to 52 after extensive debate with five Republicans voting for the measure. The Assembly passed similar legislation in 2007 by a vote of 85 to 61 only to have the bill die in the Republican controlled Senate. Supporters hope the increased number of votes for the bill will sway senators.

The fight to legalize gay marriage will now go to the Democratically controlled Senate where Majority Leader Malcolm Smith has said he will not bring the bill to the floor until he is sure he has the votes. Smith reiterated his personal support for gay marriage in a statement released earlier today. Word is that supporters of the bill in the Senate need to win around five votes to secure it’s passage.

A press release from the office of Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver follows:


Measure would allow same-sex partners to legally marry in New York

Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and Assembly Member Daniel ODonnell today announced the passage of a marriage equality bill that allows same-sex couples the opportunity to enter into civil marriages. The measure, a program bill introduced by Governor Paterson and sponsored by ODonnell, grants same-sex couples the same legal recognition afforded to couples of the opposite sex.

In 2007, the Assembly passed a similar marriage equality bill, 85 to 61, with bipartisan support. Todays vote of 89 to 52 (unofficial total) also gained approval from majority and minority members from throughout the state.

This is a matter of equity and justice. New Yorkers should have the right to marry who they chose. Partners unable to enter into a civil marriage, and their children, lack basic legal protections taken for granted by married couples, said Silver (D-Manhattan).

The Assembly cast another vote today for equality, and sent a strong message that our state must no longer exclude citizens from basic rights and protections. Our constitution and our consciences demand action, said ODonnell (D-Manhattan). It is impossible to ignore the pleas of parents who want their children to be treated equally under the law and individuals who want nothing more than to protect their partners and families.

The bill (A.7732) would amend the Domestic Relations Law, to give same-sex couples the opportunity to legally marry in New YorkState and make all provisions of state law applicable to same-sex marriages. The measure specifically provides that no member of the clergy can be compelled to perform any marriage ceremony.

When the Assembly last passed marriage equality in 2007, Massachusetts was the only state that allowed same-sex marriage. Today, Connecticut, Iowa, Vermont and Maine permit same-sex marriages. While laws in Connecticut and Iowa were implemented by judicial decision, Vermont and Maine passed measures through their respective state legislatures. Both houses in New Hampshire have also passed a same-sex marriage bill, which is awaiting approval or veto by their governor.

California courts consented to marriage between same-sex partners for five months last year before the approval of a statewide referendum that instructs the state government to acknowledge only marriages between a man and a woman.

ODonnell continued, Many of my colleagues who voted yes are individuals of profound faith who were able to draw a distinction between civil and religious marriage. I commend every one of them for casting this courageous vote.

Silver noted the changed political landscape since the last Assembly vote, in 2007. Residents in urban, suburban and rural areas all over New YorkState contacted their Assemblymembers, urging them to approve the marriage equality legislation.

Governor Paterson issued a directive to state agencies last year to recognize all marriages performed outside the state, including same-sex marriages performed in Canada or the few states that can be legally solemnized. Some municipalities in New York State offer domestic partnership registries for the purposes of benefits, but civil unions are not offered under New York State law.

By on May 12, 2009, 8:40 pm
In category: Albany,Civil Rights,Eye on Albany | 12 Comments »

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12 Responses to “Assembly Passes Same-Sex Marriage Bill”

  1. Jeff Says:
    May 12th, 2009 at 9:57 pm

    Marriage to turtles is not far away! 2012 and President Sarah Palin cannot come any sooner. Constitutional amendment banning this at the same time! PALIN 2012!

  2. LegalCat Says:
    May 12th, 2009 at 10:02 pm

    Jeff. Dude. Do you honestly not see the difference between two people who both want to marry each other doing so, and a person marrying an animal who is incapable of even understanding what marriage is, much less wanting to be married? You seriously don’t get that marriage is about both of the participants desiring to enter into the union, and that that’s simply impossible when one of them is an animal?

    Of course you do. You just want to show off how you think guys kissing guys is icky, because you think that makes you more studly. Not working.

  3. Marc Says:
    May 12th, 2009 at 10:09 pm

    Hey Legal Cat you are so right.

    I think we should also not forget that Governor Paterson was the one who showed leadership to advocate for same-sex couples in New York to have the right to get married.

    Its too bad the Jeff’s of this world would rather have legalized discrimination.

  4. JT Says:
    May 12th, 2009 at 10:57 pm

    Kudos to the brave Assembly of New York, let us hope that the noble Senators of New York State have the courage and foresight to stand on the side of equal protection of the laws for all of New York’s citizens! Let’s hope that the Senate of New York takes the brave and important step of signing on to marriage equality. New York is a bellwether state and a national leader of consequence, lead the way to equality and justice for all of New York’s families, support marriage equality.

  5. tony Says:
    May 12th, 2009 at 11:33 pm

    BUT JEFF!!!


  6. Abraham Says:
    May 13th, 2009 at 12:01 am

    I truly hope (and suspect) Jeff may have intended his comment to be facetious. If not, well . . . words can not express how silly and misguided that comment is and we can only hope that Jeff will get hit upside the head with the common-sense/reality stick a few times.

  7. Abraham Says:
    May 13th, 2009 at 12:03 am

    And God bless the State Assembly of New York for taking a stride toward equal rights under the law.

  8. Jacob Says:
    May 13th, 2009 at 8:16 am

    JT, why is it brave to do the right thing?

  9. Jacob Says:
    May 13th, 2009 at 8:17 am


    Nice comment, especially as you ridicule someone else in order to prove your point about marriage equality. Does Jeff’s sexuality matter? Of course not. Hence the point behind gay marriage; legally speaking, sexuality should not and does not matter.

  10. Tom S Says:
    May 13th, 2009 at 10:38 am

    Thanks to Jeff and other honest GOP morons for further alienating that horribly bigoted and destructive party from the mainstream.

    Here we come, 45 state Obama victory in 2012.

  11. Frank Says:
    May 13th, 2009 at 12:11 pm

    Homosexual marriage will be come the law of the land. No one wants to have themselves or their career destroyed by opposing it or even speaking against it…we are not free to speak only the “correct” speak…

  12. Michael M. Says:
    May 15th, 2009 at 11:52 am

    Frank– you have every right to express your opinion. Anyone who tries to “destroy” you or your career (unless you are in political office and are voted out) for doing so has his or her own issues to deal with.

    That said, know that we (the pro-marriage equality people) believe that marriage is a right and should be available to two people of the same sex. So, if you say, “I’m going to stand in the way of you and your rights,” know that people are going to get angry. There will be some yelling… it’s to be expected.

    Really, it’s amazing how the anti-marriage equality folks constantly try to portray *themselves* as the victims.

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