**For Immediate Release**
June 25, 2011
Contact: Amyre Loomis at (718) 260-9191
Statement by Council Member Letitia James on Passage of Marriage Equality Act
Today, we are all proud to be New Yorkers. Thank you Governor Cuomo, bill sponsors Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and Assembly Member Daniel O'Donnell, and all New Yorkers for their hard work in achieving marriage equality - persistence has prevailed in the 2011 session.
History was witnessed; a human rights struggle was finally realized yesterday in the dark of night. And so, today we rise, with the moral arc of justice on our side, as we take in the full breath and depth of knowing in the dawn of this new day, that the full weight, faith and credit of New York State now recognizes and upholds marriage equality for all.
I look forward to celebrating this victory, a win for everyone seeking equality and justice in life. Congratulations to the New York Legislature for passing the Marriage Equality Act, which allows same-sex couples to marry their significant other and receive the basic legal protections of marriage; what a tremendous and historic move!
According to polls, a majority of New York residents support the victory, and it is significant because of the rich history of gay rights in this state, including the movement’s foundational moment during June 1969 when a riot against police and for gay rights occurred inside the Stonewall Inn.
The passage of this law is especially important because it repositions New York again as a leader in equality, as well as eliminates discrimination from the law books. The national gay-rights movement has been given new momentum, and New York is now the largest state where gay couples are able to marry.
As we move forward, let's remember the eloquent text of the bill that states: Marriage is a fundamental human right. Same-sex couples should have the same access as others to the protections, responsibilities, rights, obligations, and benefits of civil marriage. Stable family relationships help build a stronger society. For the welfare of the community and in fairness to all New Yorkers, this act formally recognizes otherwise-valid marriages without regard to whether the parties are of the same or different sex.