Far Reaching Effects of New York’s Legalization of Gay Marriage

The New York State legislature and Governor Andrew Cuomo legalized same-sex marriage for the state of New York on June 24, 2011.

A same-sex marriage bill known as the Marriage Equality Act passed the State Senate by a vote of 33-29 on June 24, 2011.  Governor Andrew Cuomo signed the measure that night, allowing the law to go into effect the same day.  As a result, the number of Americans living in states covered by same-sex marriage laws has more than doubled, including the 45,000 gay couples currently living in New York, according to census estimates.  New York is now the sixth and largest state to permit same-sex marriage, joining the ranks of Connecticut, Iowa, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Vermont, and the District of Columbia.   States that recognize same-sex marriage but do not grant same-sex marriage licenses include Rhode Island and Maryland. Other states, including Illinois, will recognize gay marriages as civil unions under their respective civil union statutes.

New York has a twenty-four hour waiting period to get married, but no residency requirement.  What this means is that gay couples from anywhere in the country can become legally married in New York State and their marriage will be recognized by an increasing number of states.  While twenty-nine states have a constitutional ban on gay marriage and twelve others have laws against it, the May 2011 Gallup poll found that a majority of Americans support same-sex marriage, so the future status of those states may be in for a change.

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