New York State Passes Marriage Equality

In 2009, New York marriage equality advocates felt their hearts break as the bill that would have allowed gays and lesbians to wed failed in the State Senate 38-4. Despite the Democratic nature of New York and the heartfelt testimony and support of proponents, couples would have to continue to wait to wed.

Lobbying and campaign contributions felt short in the pursuit of expanding the right to marry to lesbians and gays. The debate was heated and New Yorkers were emotional and with the economy overshadowing all other issues, the bill couldn't build the steam necessary to passed onto the governor's desk.

New York is the bedrock of the gay rights movement and watching five of their neighbors achieve equality as their attempt failed added insult to injury. Support was increasing and proponents believed that they had what was necessary to pass the bill, including the support of the former governor David A. Paterson and the Michael Bloomberg, the mayor of New York City.

However, a bad economy and the Roman Catholic Church's opposition was overwhelming and were able to overcome the two seat majority the Democrats held in the Senate.

Many people who saw the bill pass in 2011 described Pride as sad that year. It was hard to really celebrate in the wake of the bill failing.

This changed in 2011 and Governor Andrew Cuomo was able to sign the bill his predecessor had seen fall short. Heartfelt testimony and increased support from the former opposition saw the bill force its way through the State Senate and passed.

LGBT advocacy groups were able to claim a victory and one of the nation's largest states had expanded the definition of marriage to include homosexuals. Many consider this the tipping point in passing a federal bill that will make the change nationwide.