New York approves gay marriage law

New York approves gay marriage law

Move disappoints Catholic Bishops

New York will become the sixth and most populous US  state to allow gay marriage. State senators voted 33-29 on Friday evening to approve marriage equality legislation and Cuomo, a Democrat who had introduced the measure, signed it into law.

Gay married couples can now qualify for the same marriage benefits as straight couples. The Democratic-controlled Assembly passed the bill 80-63 last week.

“This vote today (Friday) will send a message across the country. This is the way to go, the time to do it is now, and it is achievable; it’s no longer a dream or an aspiration. I think you’re going to see a rapid evolution,” Cuomo, who is in his first year of office, told a news conference. “We reached a new level of social justice,” he added.

Same-sex weddings can start taking place in New York in 30 days, though religious institutions and nonprofit groups with religious affiliations will not be compelled to officiate at such ceremonies. The legislation also gives gay couples the right to divorce.

Cheers erupted in the Senate gallery in the state capital Albany and among a crowd of several hundred people who gathered outside New York City’s Stonewall Inn, where a police raid in 1969 sparked the modern gay rights movement.

“It is about time. I want to get married. I want the same rights as anyone else,” Caroline Jaeger, 36, a student, who was outside the Stonewall Inn.

But New York’s Catholic bishops said they were “deeply disappointed and troubled” by the passage of the bill.

“We always treat our homosexual brothers and sisters with respect, dignity and love. But we just as strongly affirm that marriage is the joining of one man and one woman,” the state’s Catholic Conference said in a statement.

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