Why New York's passage of gay marriage matters

The largest state yet to legalize same-sex marriage did so against great odds, writes Andrew Sullivan at The Daily Beast

Revelers celebrate late Friday night after New York's state Senate passed a bill legalizing gay marriage. The Empire State is the sixth, and largest, U.S. state to legalize same-sex marriage.
(Image credit: REUTERS/Jessica Rinaldi )

Late Friday night, New York's state Senate voted 33-29 to legalize same-sex marriage, with four members of the Republican majority joining all but one Democrat to pass the measure. Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) quickly signed the law, which will take effect in 30 days, and makes New York the sixth state in the country to legalize same-sex marriage. It's a "BFD," says Andrew Sullivan at The Daily Beast, for a number of reasons. First, the state's Senate is Republican-led, and although the partisanship is "massively lopsided," the passionate efforts that converted a few, pivotal Republicans and went outside traditional Democratic channels were key. Second, the measure incorporates "maximal religious liberty for those who conscientiously oppose marriage equality." What are gay rights if they trample on religious rights? Third, this campaign's public leader, the "magnificently crafty" and "determined" Gov. Cuomo, is heterosexual. And finally, New York's achievement is unprecedented because of the sheer scope of the population affected. Here, an excerpt:

It's a BFD because it doubles the number of Americans with the right to marry the person they love, even if they are gay. That is one hell of a fact on the ground. It will almost certainly help in California. It will reveal even more profoundly that this does not mean the end of civilization, but is, more prosaically, a modest reform to strengthen the family, integrate the marginalized and enlarge our moral universe. And it cannot now be undone.

Read the entire article at The Daily Beast.

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