Late last night New York’s new governor Andrew Cuomo signed the bill allowing legal same-sex marriage in the state passed hours earlier all into law. Governor Cuomo had made the passage of such legislation one of the key pieces of his campaign platform.
“At around 10:30 p.m., moments after the vote was announced, Mr. Cuomo strode onto the Senate floor to wave at cheering supporters who had crowded into the galleries to watch. Trailed by two of his daughters, the governor greeted lawmakers, and paused to single out those Republicans who had defied the majority of their party to support the marriage bill.[…]The approval of same-sex marriage represented a reversal of fortune for gay-rights advocates, who just two years ago suffered a humiliating defeat when a same-sex marriage bill was easily rejected by the Senate, which was then controlled by Democrats. This year, with the Senate controlled by Republicans, the odds against passage of same-sex marriage appeared long.
But the unexpected victory had a clear champion: Mr. Cuomo, a Democrat who pledged last year to support same-sex marriage but whose early months in office were dominated by intense battles with lawmakers and some labor unions over spending cuts.
Mr. Cuomo made same-sex marriage one of his top priorities for the year and deployed his top aide to coordinate the efforts of a half-dozen local gay-rights organizations whose feuding and disorganization had in part been blamed for the defeat two years ago.”
Read the full article here. Take a moment to watch the slide show linked on the left side of the page. There are images of the celebrations that happened last night at the Stonewall and of the Empire State building lit up in rainbow flag colors.
The Atlantic Wire has a broad round-up of reactions world-wide posted here.
There have already been reactions published from NY state Episcopal dioceses and bishops.
Bishop Singh of the Diocese of Rochester in NY writes:
“First, I want to celebrate the fact that our leaders in Albany have demonstrated their affirmation of the human rights of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender persons. This is a good day for New York and I am profoundly proud to be a New Yorker, an American and a follower of Christ.
Second, as a leader in the Church it is significant to celebrate what our baptismal identity affirms as God given: the human dignity of a community that has been overtly and covertly ostracized and often treated as less than others. Equal Marriage Act gives faith traditions like mine the ability to transparently enrich the definition of marriage. We will use the lenses of human dignity and loving kindness to live into a new normal where all adult lifelong-loving-commitments are treated as they should be: Holy.
Third, I want to assure members of my Diocese that no priest will be forced to bless the civil marriage of the LGBT parishioners. We already practice a provision in our polity that does not mandate a priest to officiate in the marriage of a heterosexual couple for any reason. I will be setting up a task force in our Diocese to help us chart our course to engage this journey reverently, deliberately and in congruence with Church Law. I pray that the all New Yorkers, those who support and those who oppose this Act, will celebrate the fact that the human rights of a community have been affirmed by the state. Since no one is free until everyone is free, Marriage Equality takes us closer to our pursuit of a more wholesome society.”
Bishop William Franklin of the Episcopal Diocese of Western NY posted a video about the legislation here.
Bishop Mark Sisk of the Episcopal Diocese of NY writes:
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
It was with thanksgiving and joy that I received the news of the New York State legislature’s affirmative action on the Marriage Equality legislation that it had been debating with such intensity.
The legislation, as enacted, appears to be closely aligned with the long standing views of this Diocese that the civil rights of all people should be respected equally before the law. In terms of the issue of marriage rights for gay and lesbian people that position was made most explicit in the resolution enacted at our 2009 Diocesan Convention.
The legislature’s action in broadening the definition of marriage to include same sex unions has to do with civil law, as it properly should. It does not determine Church teaching about the nature of sacraments. That is our continuing work. However, nothing in the unfinished nature of that work should cause us to hesitate to give our most profound thanks for the step that has been taken in affording equal civil rights for our brothers and sisters.
And from Bishop Provenzano of the Diocese of Long Island:
“Will you strive for justice and peace among all people and respect the dignity of every human being?”
These words taken from the promises in the Baptismal liturgy in the Book of Common Prayer can be prayed more clearly today as the Gay and Lesbian community and all of New Yorkers begin to live into the reality and joy that same gender marriage is now law in New York. To the many LGBT members of the diocese I celebrate this day with you, your loved ones and families. Today the New York Senate has helped us all move yet closer to living the reality that there are no outcasts in the church. The Episcopal Diocese of Long Island will engage this new law with a generous and open response allowing, under the provision of our General Convention, the use of rites for same gender marriage by priests of this diocese who believe they are called to preside at the exchange of vows, once the law has taken effect in 30 days.
Respecting the dignity of every human being will also be lived out in our continued care for those who do not celebrate this milestone in the lives of God’s people. Respecting the dignity of every human being includes those who feel a sense of loss and anger. The love and charity of Jesus Christ proclaimed in the gospels does not have winners and losers. We are all God’s people, redeemed and sanctified by the enormous love of God made real in Jesus Christ. Let us all move forward in the knowledge of that love and charity and more fully live into the reality of being the Body of Christ.
We’ll add more to this. If you see a statement that we’ve missed, please let us know in the comments. Thanks!