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Marriage Equality

By Fritz Mayer
June 29, 2011

REGION — There is mixed reaction from the lawmakers at the state level that represent the New York side of the Upper Delaware Valley on the passage of the Marriage Equality Act. According to a press release from Governor Andrew Cuomo, the act tears down “the barrier that has prevented same-sex couples from exercising the freedom to marry and from receiving the fundamental protections that so many couples and families take for granted.”

State Senator John Bonacic, who has long opposed any law that would allow marriage between same-sex couples, voted no, along with 28 of the 32 Republican senators. He said during an interview posted on his website, “With many of our colleagues, it’s a matter of conscience, values and personal choice. I, for one, always believed that marriage is between a man and a woman, I’ve always said that when the press has come to me over the years, and they have come often. So, I’m a no vote on gay marriage.”

US senator Kirsten Gillibrand,on the other hand, has been a long-time supporter on marriage equality. Writing on a web site called the New Civil Rights Movement, Senator Kirsten Gillibrand wrote that she was pleased with the development, but the work of those who support marriage equality is not over.

She said, “The fact is that once our lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender friends and family are legally able to marry here in New York, the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) will prohibit them from enjoying over 1,000 federal rights and privileges that are afforded straight married couples.” She has introduced legislation to repeal DOMA.

The Marriage Equality Act amends New York's Domestic Relations Law to say:

• A marriage that is otherwise valid shall be valid regardless of whether the parties to the marriage are of the same or different sex.

• No government treatment or legal status, effect, right, benefit, privilege, protection or responsibility relating to marriage shall differ based on the parties to the marriage being the same sex or a different sex.

• No application for a marriage license shall be denied on the ground that the parties are of the same or a different sex.