On Friday, June 24, lawmakers in New York passed a bill legalizing same-sex marriage. New York is now the sixth state in the U.S. to allow gay people to marry, joining Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Vermont, Iowa, Washington D.C. and Connecticut. New York is the largest state to legalize same-sex marriage, and it is expected to change the way gay marriage is viewed across the nation.
The legalization of gay marriage couldn't have happened at a better time, from advocates' perspective. The law passed 42 years, nearly to the day, since the first outspoken gay movement, the Stonewall Riots, took place in New York. Additionally, the city celebrated gay pride weekend, with a raucous gay pride parade through Manhattan on Sunday.
While the news in New York is a big step for gay rights advocates, supporters of gay marriage still have their work cut out for them across the nation. Still, there is hope that this new development will encourage positive attitudes among the U.S. public.
"The more interactions Americans have with same-sex couples, the more Americans will accept same-sex marriage," William Eskridge, a law professor at Yale, told NPR.
In New York State alone, there are around 42,600 same-sex couples, a 2010 study from The Williams Institute reveals. Currently, there are around 80,000 married same-sex couples in the U.S., meaning that the number of gay married couples will likely increase dramatically when the law goes into effect in the end of July.
While advocates in the North East were celebrating all weekend, feelings on the other coast were slightly different. In San Francisco, gay men and women applauded the legislation, but according to the New York Times, the gay pride parade that took place there this weekend was slightly bittersweet, as the state has struggled and failed to implement same-sex marriage rights in recent years.