Friday, June 24, 2011

New York’s Marriage Equality Bill Up for a Vote Tonight

Just out is the announcement by New York State Senator and Majority Leader Dean Skelos that he will bring New York’s marriage equality bill to the floor for debate and an up or down vote this evening.

The vote will be close, much closer to the 2009 vote on virtually the same bill. This year some Republican state senators who voted against the gay rights bill last time will change their votes “for reasons of conscience and a duty to ensure civil rights.

Sticking points this year are that some religious groups fear discrimination lawsuits if they refuse to perform a marriage for a gay or lesbian couple. The bill now has these protections built into them with all 32 senate Republicans voting for them.

Another key provision in the bill is that there is no residency requirement in order to be granted a marriage license, meaning, of course, that New York could become another regional destination for gay/lesbian couples who might like to get married at say, Niagara Falls.

If the bill succeeds in the Senate it will easily pass in the House and marriage ceremonies in New York can begin in 30 days.

UPDATE: At 9:30PM CDT, 33 Aye 29 Nay. Marriage Equality will be the law of the land in New York. Side note, this weekend in New York is Gay Pride weekend. Party if you are gay, I think. Or even if you are straight. This was a vote for human equality, after all.

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