New York Govenor Andrew Cuomo signed a bill in to law late last night that will allow gay couples to marry in what is now the sixth and largest state to recognize same sex marriage.  This now doubles the number of Americans who are eligible for legal gay marriages. Barring legal challenges, gay couples will be able to wed in New York as soon as July 24th of this year.

The Associated Press reports that the bill’s primary opponent, Bronx Democratic Senator Ruben Diaz felt that he didn’t have enough time to present his challenge. “God, not Albany, settled the issue of marriage a long time ago,” said Diaz, who is a minister. “I’m sorry you are trying to take away my right to speak,” he said. “Why are you ashamed of what I have to say?” The Senator did not address the legal separation between church and state that protects those who do not share his religious views from having them legally imposed upon them.

The Catholic Bishops of New York released a statement in regards to the ruling:  “We always treat our homosexual brothers and sisters with respect, dignity and love. We worry that both marriage and the family will be undermined by this tragic presumption of government in passing this legislation that attempts to redefine these cornerstones of civilization.” Because the best way to treat people with “respect, dignity and love” is to, of course, deny them the same rights that others enjoy.

The success of the bill is due in part to two Republican Senators who declared their stance on the matter in the 11th hour. In a statement to the Associated Press, Senator Stephen Saland, who voted against a similar bill in 2009, said  “While I understand that my vote will disappoint many, I also know my vote is a vote of conscience.” Freshman Senator Mark Grisanti of Buffalo echoed Saland’s sentiments: “I apologize to those I offend. But I believe you can be wiser today than yesterday. I believe this state needs to provide equal rights and protections for all its residents,” he said.




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