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Religious Tolerance logo

Same-sex marriage (SSM) in New York State

2012-JUN: New York state's Marriage
Equality law: One year. Part 2.

Bible. Financial benefits. A look back over the year

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The acronym LGBT refers to the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender,
and transsexual communities. SSM refers to same-sex marriage.

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This topic continues from a previous essay

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Alternative interpretations of Bible anti-gay "clobber" passages:

For a range of alternate LGBT-positive and neutral interpretations to these same biblical passages, go to our Homosexuality in the Bible section. For example, consider some interpretations of these passages that are not often seen:

  • The 1 Corinthians passage uses the Greek term "arsenokoitai" whose meaning has been lost. Various translators have guessed that it may refer to male prostitutes, catamites (boy prostitutes), male adults who sexually abuse boys, homosexuals, or some other behavior.

  • The Romans 1 passage refers to a group of heterosexuals who engaged in same-gender sexual behavior during a Pagan sexual orgy. They were criticized for violating their basic heterosexual nature. Following the same theme, this passage could be used to condemn gays and lesbians if they engaged in sexual activity with persons of the opposite-gender.

  • Genesis 19, the Sodom and Gomorrah story does not talk about gays involved in loving committed same-sex relationships, or even men engaging in consensual sex. It describes men of the cities trying to anally rape angelic visitors to the city. The men of Sodom are criticized elsewhere in the Bible for attempting to mistreat visitors.

  • Jude 7 criticizes the men of Sodom and Gomorrah for bestiality: trying to have sex with another species: angels in this case.

  • Mark 7 talks about a range of evil activities: sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance and folly. If everyone guilty of these behaviors is to be sent to Hell, then Heaven will be devoid of people.

    Some commentators define "sexual immorality" in this passage as "sex outside of marriage." This would include persons who have never been married; people between marriages; people after a marital divorce; and sex with a person other than one's wife while married, and all sex between members of the same gender in those political jurisdiction without same-sex marriage.

    It made a great deal of sense during the 1st century CE to confine sex to marriage. At the time, there were no effective methods to prevent children being born to single women. That was vitally important in those days because women had great difficulty surviving without a partner, and children would have made her position even more precarious. Also, there was no way to prevent the transmission of sexually transmitted infections (STIs), to diagnose STIs, or treat, or cure STIs. Two millennia ago, it was very wise to confine sexual activity to married monogamous couples. Whether that is still applicable today is unclear. But many commentators critical of the Pride Parade do not seem to have noticed that the Gay Pride parade was to recognize marriages within the LGBT community.

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2012-JUL-24: New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg reports same-sex marriage earned NYC $259 million in one year:

Governor Andrew Cuomo signed the Marriage Equality Act into law on 2011-JUN-24. It went into effect 30 days later. According to the New York City mayor‚€™s office and the state Department of Health, during the twelve months following the availability of same-sex marriages:

  • 8,300 same-sex couples were married in New York City; that is about 11% of all marriages.

  • 3,318 same-sex couples were married elsewhere in New York state.

Marc Solomon, National Campaign Director of Freedom to Marry, joined with city officials to celebrate the first anniversary of the law that more than doubled the number of Americans who have access to SSM within their state. Mayor Bloomberg said that over 200,000 out of town guests came to NYC to attend same-sex marriage ceremonies, and booked over 235,000 nights at hotels. Among the 15,000 people getting married, New York City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, wed her longtime partner, Kim Catullo, on 2012-MAY-21 in a ceremony surrounded by family, friends and politicians. Cynthia Nixon of Sex and the City fame married her partner, Christine Marinoni, on 2012-MAY-27. 1,2

Governor Cuomo (D) issued a statements saying:

"Thousands of same-sex couples have gotten married in New York and are now afforded thousands of benefits and protections that they were previously deprived of under state law."

State Sen. Jeff Klein (D) described it as:

"... a watershed moment in New York‚€™s civil rights history. ... More spending means more jobs, and I couldn‚€™t be happier that marriage equality is not only bringing New Yorkers together but is giving our economy a real shot in the arm."

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2012-JUL-24: A look back on the year since SSM was legalized:

On 2011-JUL-24, the clerk office in New York City was inundated with 2,600 requests for marriage licences. The first same-sex couple couple to be married were Phyllis Siegal, 77, and Connie Kopelov. Their relationship had lasted 23 years at the time. Siegal explained that the experience was:

"... ‚€œjust so amazing/ It's the only way I can describe it."

The following 12 months have been eventful. Some of the victories for marriage equality were:

  • 2012-FEB: The U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals confirmed the decision of a federal district court that Proposition 8 -- the citizen initiative that banned SSM in California in late 2008 was unconstitutional.

  • 2012-MAY: Voters in North Carolina voted to amend their state constitution. Most thought that the amendment merely prevented SSM. However, it was a stealth amendment that reduced all loving committed same-sex couples to the status of roommates, and made civil unions, domestic partnerships or any government recognition of same-sex relationships unconstitutional. Surveys showed that most people who voted for the amendment were opposed to its draconian effects on same-sex relationships.

  • 2012-MAY: President Obama and other senior federal government officials went public with their personal support for marriage equality.

  • 2012-JUN: U.S. District Court Judge Barbara S. Jones ruled in the Windsor v. United States lawsuit that the federal Defense of Marriage Act is unconstitutional. That law requires the federal government to withhold all benefits and protections from married same-sex couples that are automatically granted to married opposite-sex couples. Her court became the fifth federal court to declare DOMA unconstitutional; none have upheld the law.

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Further comments in favor of SSM legalization:

  • Amanda Feinman of the LGBT Project at the American Civil Liberties Union wrote that the New York State's:

    "... Marriage Equality Act is a monumental piece of legislation: it has changed thousands of lives and will continue to do so, and it has made an important contribution to the national attitude. We look back on this past year with equal parts caution and hope, as we prepare to continue the fight for equality in the politically contentious months ahead. In the meantime, we wish New York a very happy anniversary!" 3

  • Marty Rouse, national field director for the Human Rights Campaign commented:

    "When it became a reality in New York, that's when I think most Americans started to realize that this is something we'll all be dealing with and started thinking about it seriously. The momentum from New York can't be underestimated. After Massachusetts becoming the first state, nothing has had that influence." 4

  • The Associated Press reported:

    "Rouse said that because of New York's size and influence, people around the country had to think seriously about what legalization meant for them and their families." 4

  • Assemblyman Daniel O‚€™Donnell, (D-Manhattan), who sponsored the SSM bill said at the Democratic National Convention on 2012-SEP-04:

    "I‚€™m feted all over this country for the work that happened here in New York. And the truth is New York has been a leader in so many different ways, and this is a clear example of it." 5

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This topic concludes in the next essay

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References used:

The following information sources were used to prepare and update the above essay. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today.

  1. Jessica Bakemann, " Poughkeepsie Journal, 2012-JUL-25, at:
  2. James Thilman, "Gay marriage earned New York $259 million in just one year," NewOwnNext, 2012-JUL-24, at:
  3. Amanda Feinman, "Happy Anniversary, New York! A Look Back on an Important Year for the Freedom to Marry," ACLU, 2012-JUL-27, at:
  4. Meghan Barr & Michael Hill, "NY marks 1 year of gay marriage, impact unclear," WKRN-TV/ABC Nashville, 2012-JUL-22, at:
  5. Joseph Spector, "Democrats say same-sex marriage in New York is leading nation," Press Connects, 2012-SEP-04. at:

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Site navigation:

 Home > Homosexuality > Same-sex marriage > Menu > NY > here

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Copyright © 2012 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Originally written: 2011-JUL-24
Latest update: 2012-OCT-22
Author: B.A. Robinson

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