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Gay Marriage Passes New York on 'Vote of Conscience'

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Gay Marriage Passes New York on 'Vote of Conscience' 1State lawmakers in New York, known more for corruption and political infighting than landmark legislation, nonetheless, found the political courage in their 33 to 29 vote to make New York the latest and largest state to enact a gay marriage law.

The debate was long, emotional and went down to the wire. And in the end, the legislature made history with it’s vote last night.

Principally, it undoubtedly moved the nation closer to the day when gay marriage will be an accepted part of life everywhere.

New York joins Connecticut, Iowa, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Vermont and District of Columbia in permitting same sex marriage.

The vote was especially poignant because 1969’s riot outside the Stonewall Tavern in Manhattan is often said to mark the beginning of the gay rights movement.

The bill’s passage sparked celebrations in the streets of New York and elicited comments from a number of celebrities who have been active in the issue.

“I’m thrilled about the news from NY. Marriage equality!” Tweeted talk show host Ellen DeGeneres.

“Everyday we get a little bit closer. What an amazing feeling.”

Neil Patrick Harris, who also is openly gay, tweeted: “It passed! Marriage equality in NY!! Yes!! Progess!! Thank you everyone who worked so hard on this!! A historic night!

“I can’t stop crying. We did it kids,” Lady Gaga tweeted.

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Four Republicans, who hold a one-seat majority in the statehouse, bolted from their party and sided with Democrats to pass the measure.

The agonizing decision for many members was symbolized by Republican State Sen. Mark J. Grisanti, who ran for office promising to oppose same-sex marriage. In the end, he voted for it.

“I apologize for those who feel offended,” Grisanti said.

“I cannot deny a person, a human being, a taxpayer, a worker, the people of my district and across this state, the State of New York, and those people who make this the great state that it is the same rights that I have with my wife.”

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo signed the measure at 11:55 p.m., and the law takes effect in 30 days. With that, same-sex couples could begin marrying in New York by late July.

Much of the credit for turning around sentiment in Albany goes to the governor, who made same-sex marriage a priority in his administration, even as it dealt with the state’s fiscal crisis.

The other unsung hero was the majority leader, Dean G. Skelos, who said Friday the measure would come to a vote. “The days of just bottling up things, and using these as excuses not to have votes — as far as I’m concerned as leader, it’s over with,” he said.

Oddly, a same-sex marriage bill was soundly defeated in Albany two years ago, when Democrats controlled the Senate. The measure has always had support in the lower house. With Republicans in control, the matter seemed all but dead.

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