Gay activist Jesús Lebrón has worked with other activists, including Brendan Fay, to fight for the right to same-sex marriage. Lebrón was one of the founders of Marriage Equality New York, an advocacy group.  MENY then played a central role in shaping public opinion and lobbying for the passage of New York`s Marriage Equality Act. The marriage certificate is more than a piece of paper, Turley says. In 2006, the New York Court of Appeals ruled that the New York State Constitution did not require the right to same-sex marriage, leaving the issue of recognition to the state legislature. Following the 2006 court decision, the New York State Assembly passed same-sex marriage laws in 2007, 2009, and 2011. However, the New York Senate rejected such a bill on December 2, 2009 by a vote of 38 to 24. In June 2011, the same-sex marriage bill was passed by the House of Representatives and the Senate; It was signed into law by Governor Andrew Cuomo on June 24, 2011 and went into effect on July 24, 2011. On June 13, 2011, three Democratic senators who voted against the December 2009 same-sex marriage law (Shirley Huntley, Carl Kruger and Joseph Addabbo Jr.) announced their support for the Marriage Equality Act.  James Alesi was the first Republican senator to announce his support for the bill, and Roy McDonald became the second on June 14. Reduce the transition requirement to one.  Democratic Senator Rubén Díaz, Sr. was a vocal opponent of legalization and resigned from the bicameral committee of Blacks, Puerto Ricans, Hispanics and Asians to demonstrate his opposition to his position on the legislation.
 In late 2010, before his term as governor expired in January 2011, David Paterson contacted members of the New York State Senate to assess support for passing same-sex marriage laws during a lame session of the legislature; However, the governor concluded that passing the bill during the lame duck session was not feasible.  When asked what would have to happen for same-sex marriage to be legalized in New York, Governor Paterson replied, “Get rid of the lobbyists,” adding that supporters of same-sex marriage forced a Senate vote in early December 2009.  Same-sex marriage has been legally recognized in New York State since July 24, 2011 under the Marriage Equality Act. The law has no residency restrictions, as do some similar laws in other states. It allows religious organizations to refuse to officiate at same-sex marriage ceremonies. After the failed attempt to achieve marriage equality by the New York State legislature in 2009, LGBTQ civil rights activists escalated the fight for equal civil rights almost immediately in 2010. The activists formed a direct action group called Queer Rising and staged a protest in front of the New York City wedding office.  These activists then increased the number of direct action demonstrations, such as the blockade of traffic, and managed to put the issue of marriage equality on the social and legislative agenda for more than a year. Queer Rising has inspired the formation or actions of other LGBTQ or civil rights groups who have also lobbied the government to achieve marriage equality.
When it became known that the Catholic Church was pushing against the adoption of marriage equality, activists demonstrated in front of St. Patrick`s Cathedral to demand marriage equality.  Some of the activists who led or participated in the direct action that was crucial to the marriage equality movement were Alan Bonville, Iana Di Bona, Bob the Drag Queen, Honey La Bronx, Jake Goodman, Rich Murray, Natasha Dillon and many others. On February 27, 2004, the mayor of Nyack, New York, John Shields, announced that he would recognize marriages in New Paltz, and on March 1, 2004, the mayor of Ithaca, Carolyn K. Peterson, declared that she would recognize same-sex marriages contracted in other jurisdictions.  “They had no idea that there were 1,138 federal rights and I believe 1,524 state rights that come with marriage. Some of them may be mundane, but there are a lot of rights and privileges you get. We wanted our marriages to be believable, to be like everyone else.
These were not special rights. After a historic vote in the state legislature, Cuomo signed the Marriage Equality Act in 2011. He made New York the sixth and largest state to legalize same-sex marriage. What benefits will we derive from marriage? A marriage automatically gives you access to all the protections afforded to spouses under New York state and local laws. New York State marriage rights include: Before age 24. In July 2011, New York only allowed recognition of legally solemnized same-sex marriages in other states of the Union and in countries where same-sex marriage is legal, such as Canada and Spain; The state also limited legal recognition of same-sex relationships in the state to unregistered cohabitation rights, and many communities granted domestic partnership registries to residents who engaged in same-sex relationships. [ref. needed] The passage of the same-sex marriage law was one of Cuomo`s first major legislative achievements after taking office. He worked with LGBTQ advocates to gain support for the measure, then lobbied four Republican senators to join forces with all but one Democratic Senate to approve the bill. It didn`t take months for the law to change things, O`Donnell says. This happened overnight when it came into force. Saland, who voted against same-sex marriage in 2009, was announced by Mark Grisanti, a Buffalo Republican who did not explain how he would vote until his Friday night speech, his new support for gay marriage in the Senate.
Grisanti, who said he struggled with voting because he is Catholic, was opposed to same-sex marriage when he was elected last year, but changed his mind after an intense lobbying campaign that included a call from Lady Gaga to her fans to contact him. “I can`t legally find any argument against same-sex marriage,” Grisanti said. What is the Marriage Equality Act? The Marriage Equality Act grants same-sex couples the freedom to marry in New York City. In 2011, New York became the sixth state to allow same-sex couples to marry, doubling the percentage of Americans living in states with fair marriage laws and more than 42,000 same-sex couples raising 14,000 children in the state. The law states that same-sex couples cannot be denied marriage licenses and that no government or private entity can deny legally married same-sex couples the rights, benefits, or protections of marriage. In addition, any state law that uses gender-specific terms to describe matrimonial rights and responsibilities will now be interpreted neutrally. Valid marriages from other states and countries with fair marriage laws will continue to be recognized in New York and will be treated in the same way as marriages in the state. “In one day, we doubled the number of people in the U.S. who had access to a marriage license from their own state,” O`Donnell said. “Someone from Jersey, Ohio or Arkansas could take a trip to New York and get married.” The same-sex marriage bill was first passed by the New York State Assembly on June 19, 2007 by a vote of 85 to 61.  The bill languished in the Republican-controlled Senate before dying and being sent back to the Assembly.  Then-Governor Eliot Spitzer promoted the law among Albany legislators.
After Hernandez v. Robles, the focus of the fight on same-sex marriage has shifted to the executive and legislative branches. During his successful campaign for governor of New York, Attorney General Spitzer stated that he would advocate for the legalization of same-sex marriage if elected, and he proposed a bill to the state legislature on April 27, 2007. This law was passed by the State Assembly on 19 June 2007, but the State Senate did nothing and referred it back to the Assembly.  Now that same-sex couples have the freedom to marry in New York City and their marriages are recognized by the federal government, NYCLU has compiled a guide to answer some frequently asked questions about the Marriage Equality Act in 2011 and the impact of the 2013 Supreme Court decision striking down the Defense of Marriage Act. Note: This quick reference does not constitute individualized legal advice. For more information, or if you feel you have been discriminated against in your marriage, contact NYCLU by phone at (212) 607-3300 or by email at email@example.com. Grisanti, McDonald and Saland each faced major challenges in 2012.