New York Senate Rejects Marriage Bill for Same-Sex Couples

For Immediate Release


Brad Luna 202/216.1514
Trevor Thomas 202/216.1547

New York Senate Rejects Marriage Bill for Same-Sex Couples

New York leaves Same-sex couples without full protection of the law

WASHINGTON - The Human Rights Campaign, the nation's largest lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) civil rights organization, today expressed disappointment that the New York State Senate failed to pass legislation recognizing marriage equality for same-sex couples. The senate voted 24-38 against the bill. In July, the state assembly voted in favor of marriage equality by an 89-52 margin, then voted again last night in favor of the legislation 88 -51.

"Today's vote is a vote against equal treatment for all New York families," said Human Rights Campaign President Joe Solmonese. "The Senate voted to continue to impose tangible, unacceptable harms on same-sex couples and their families. While some couples may be fortunate enough to travel out of state to marry and receive the protections that every family deserves, the current state of New York law leaves many families behind. We thank Senate Majority Leader John Sampson for bringing the bill to the floor so that this injustice could be debated and ended. Unfortunately, many senators did not vote to end discrimination. The senators who voted against marriage equality today are on the wrong side of history, but the history of marriage equality will not end with today's vote. We will not stop fighting until every New York family has equal access to the protections and responsibilities of marriage."

At this time, five states recognize marriage for same-sex couples under state law: Massachusetts, Connecticut, Iowa, Vermont, and New Hampshire (effective January 1, 2010). Five states-California, New Jersey, Oregon, Washington, and Nevada-plus Washington, D.C. provide same-sex couples with access to the state level benefits and responsibilities of marriage, through either civil unions or domestic partnerships.

Hawaii, Colorado, Maine, Maryland and Wisconsin provide same-sex couples with limited rights and benefits. New York and Washington, D.C. recognize marriages of same-sex couples validly entered into outside of the jurisdiction. California recognized marriage by same-sex couples between June and November of 2008, before voters approved Proposition 8, which purports to amend the state constitution to prohibit marriage equality. Couples married during that window remain married under California law, but all other same-sex couples can only receive a domestic partnership within the state. The state will recognize out of state same-sex marriages that occurred before November 5, 2008 as marriages and those that occurred on or after November 5, 2008 as domestic partnerships. The Proposition 8 vote has been challenged in federal court; a decision is not expected any time soon.

Same-sex couples do not receive federal rights and benefits in any state. For an electronic map showing where marriage equality stands in the states, please visit:


The Human Rights Campaign represents a grassroots force of over 750,000 members and supporters nationwide. As the largest national lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender civil rights organization, HRC envisions an America where LGBT people are ensured of their basic equal rights, and can be open, honest and safe at home, at work and in the community.

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