"When it comes to fighting for what's right, New Yorkers wrote the book. And marriage equality is the next chapter of our civil rights story."
With those powerful words, Gov. Andrew Cuomo defined the importance of the fight for same-sex couples to marry, and today, New York State finally got on the right side of history. Democrats and Republicans in the State Senate united to pass fair marriage laws in a 33 to 29 vote.
This historic, bipartisan vote is a victory for families and a victory for human rights! Now, all loving couples in our state can enjoy the dignity, respect and legal rights that marriage provides.
Marriage shouldn't be about politics. Being able to get married — and protect your partner and your children — is a matter of human dignity. Today, our leaders put aside their differences and their party affiliation and stood up for fairness and equality for all.
Today they stood up for real people.
In 2009, the NYCLU launched www.MarriageNY.com, a website featuring a dozen New York couples explaining why getting married matters to them. Syracuse resident Susan Salomone, the mother of four children adopted through the foster care system explained that marrying her life partner Jean would help keep her family safe.
"We have established our relationship amongst our friends, our family, our church — it would be nice to have it legalized so we're completely protected," Susan said.
Delaware, NY resident Rose Coppola has been with her partner nearly half her life.
"We've been together for 31 years and I'm getting old," Rose said. "I don't know how much longer I can wait for New York State to grant us a marriage."
Rose doesn't have to wait any longer, and neither do the countless other families that will finally have access to the security and protection that marriage affords. Kudos to all of the elected officials who did the right thing today. And kudos to all of you who were instrumental in making it happen through your letters, emails, photos, phone calls and lobby visits. We couldn’t have done it without you.