Breaking: Gay marriage passes New York Senate hurdle

marriage equality NY
After many, many days of negotiations and close-calls for a vote, same-sex marriage finally passed the NY Senate tonight by a close margin of 33-29.

The bill went straight from the Assembly to a floor vote, and was decided after a number of religious exemptions that were agreed upon by New York legislators. Now, the bill will go to Governor Cuomo’s desk, where he will sign it.

This win represents another demonstration of the changing tide for LGBT rights — particularly when it comes to marriage.

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  • http://feministing.com/members/calieber/ Hershele Ostropoler

    1) This is good.

    2) I’d rather it had been done by the courts. The legislature say “you have this right”; the judiciary says “you have always had this right.” Passing a law about it sends the message that basic human rights are, in fact, subject to legislative control.

    3) I have a vague feeling that quibbling about that is astonishingly petty.

  • http://feministing.com/members/katrie/ Katherine

    Congrats New York!

  • http://feministing.com/members/toongrrl/ Jessica “Jess” Victoria Carillo

    Gooooooooooaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaalllllllllllllllllll!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Yeah!!!!

  • http://feministing.com/members/critter/ Critter

    This is nice, but I’m really troubled by the religious exemptions. Why should churches get free passes to be bigots??

    • http://feministing.com/members/krystina/ Krystina

      I think that as heinous as it is, churches are exercising their freedom of religion by and the exemptions protect that. I do believe it’s vile, but if they truly believe that they are simply trying to live by the standards of their belief system, then they have that right.

    • davenj

      Churches can already discriminate on religious grounds. A church doesn’t have to marry to Jewish people on its premises. A mosque doesn’t have to marry two Christians.

    • http://feministing.com/members/chataya/ Brianne Jones

      Churches already have the right to refuse to marry anyone for whatever reason they choose. That is why LDS and Catholic churches can refuse to marry anyone who doesn’t belong to their respective denominations.

      I will admit that the hospital thing brought up in the link is far more troubling. It basically means that they are married until some organization says they aren’t on religious grounds. Hopefully the courts will be able to delete that clause before any harm is done.

    • http://feministing.com/members/thetruestfaith/ Mia

      Exactly! I’m from CT, and I think it really took NY a long time to do this.

    • http://feministing.com/members/superblondine/ Kelsey

      I’m relieved to see that I’m not the only one who thinks this “religious exemption” thing is utter bullshit. If homosexual marriage is legal in the state, how can the government allow churches within that state to deny homosexuals the right to marry? You don’t like it? Tough. It’s the law, and churches should never EVER be exempt from the law when it comes to protecting civil liberties.

      I’m tired of theists gettting away with discrimination. They shouldn’t be above the law.

      • davenj

        “They shouldn’t be above the law.”

        They’re not. You can’t force a mosque to marry a Buddhist couple. You can’t force a Catholic church to marry a Protestant couple.

        This isn’t “theists gettting away with discrimination”. Rather, it is the right of religious organizations to define their beliefs.

        In the same vein, states in which gay marriage is illegal still have houses of religious worship that allow gay couples to marry there. The ceremonies have no legal impact, but they are still allowed to occur in spite of the legal prohibitions about marriage in the state.

        This law says homosexual couples are allowed to marry. The only place where that’s binding is in a civil court. Every religious house of worship in the state of New York could legally deny gay partnership their sanction, and many will. That’s not illegal.

      • http://feministing.com/members/james/ James

        how can the government allow churches within that state to deny homosexuals the right to marry?

        They’re not allowing the church to deny same-sex couples the right to marry. Those couples can still marry, just not at that church. If those couples want to get married, they have the right to do so, either at the county courthouse, at a church that will allow them to get married there, or anywhere else where the property owner permits their wedding ceremony to take place.

        Same-sex couples have a right to marry; what they don’t have is a right to be married in a specific church. Churches retain the right they’ve always had to decide who can get married within their church—whether that means “no divorcees” (the Roman Catholics), “nobody who’s not our religion” (many churches, synagogues, etc.), or really any other restriction.

    • http://feministing.com/members/alicia/ Alicia

      Because churches are private institutions, and, as sad as it is that someone would refuse to marry a gay couple, it is within their rights.

      • http://feministing.com/members/superblondine/ Kelsey

        Sure you could argue that it’s their right to discriminate against a select group of people simply because they believe in an invisible man in the sky who says homosexuality is immoral, but if we allow them that freedom, we need to take away the government benefits of the religious institution of “marriage”. Separation of church and state may allow you to practice the religion of your choosing within reasonable limits, but it also means you are exempt from government favors (or at least you should be). It’s weird how everyone overlooks that thing called the Establishment Clause.

        • davenj

          What legal benefits does a religious marriage confer? If you don’t get that legal certificate from the government then it only provides limited social benefits.

        • http://feministing.com/members/alicia/ Alicia

          The religious exemptions of the bill would be in conflict with the Establishment Clause only if the wording in the bill singled out a specific religious group or groups. However, if the wording in the bill is unspecific in that regard and exempts religious institutions as a whole, then it would not be in conflict with the Establishment Clause. In this case, the amendments of the bill refer to “religious entities” and “religious corporations” and is, therefore, not in conflict with the Establishment Clause and is protecting freedom of religion and respecting separation of church and state. Don’t forget the Free Exercise Clause.

        • http://feministing.com/members/james/ James

          As far as I know, there are no governmental benefits to a religious marriage that aren’t also conferred on those who have civil marriages.

          A couple married by the Justice of the Peace at the county courthouse is just as legally married as a couple married by a minister at a church.

          • davenj

            Actually, they’re even MORE married, in that the minister must mail a document to, wit for it, the county courthouse.

  • http://feministing.com/members/locomotivebreath1901/ locomotivebreath1901

    Alternative headline: NY Senate approves 50 percent divorce rate for homosexuals.

  • http://feministing.com/members/jezebelle/ Shana

    @Critter: because we have (theoretically) separation of church and state. Churches have always been free to restrict the rights of their members (see: Catholic church and birth control, for one). If we want real separation of church and state, we need to separate civil and church marriage and let bigots be bigots. The more of us refuse to associate with them, the more things will change, but allowing churches to hold gay marriage hostage doesn’t less for the LGBTQ community than legalizing gay marriage in the civil and inclusive church spheres.

    We also need to end the whole thing where churches are allowed to use tax-exempt funds to meddle in politics, but that is, I suppose, for another day.

  • http://feministing.com/members/azure156/ Jenny Gonzalez-Blitz

    Yes, it’s waaaaaayyyyy past time we got on the ball with this! Looking forward to getting some wedding invitations in the near future. :)