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Governor signs same sex marriage bill into law

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Governor Cuomo signed the bill allowing same-sex couples to marry in New York into law following a dramatic debate and vote on the Senate floor Friday night.

The addition of two Republicans sealed the bill's fate after they said an amendment securing religious exemptions satisfied them. The bill passed in the Senate 33-29.

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Reported by

Karen DeWitt
NYS Capitol Correspondent

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Republican state senators deliberated for days over the pros and cons of bringing the bill to the floor for a vote.

The logjam finally broke when they worked out an amendment that would offer greater legal protections for religious groups who are opposed to same sex marriage. That convinced two more GOP senators, Mark Grisanti of Buffalo and Steve Saland of the Hudson Valley, to vote yes, bringing the total to 33, enough for the bill to pass.

Opponents who prayed and sang hymns in the halls outside the senate chamber in the days leading up to the vote say the law degrades the social order and is a rebellion against God.

Governor Andrew Cuomo said the senators responded to their better angels: “We reached a new level of social justice this evening.”

The world's oldest and largest gay pride parade in New York city was the center of celebration for the new law yesterday and Cuomo was undoubtedly the star of the show.

Cuomo fought to get the bill over its final hurdle in the Republican-led state senate. Cuomo called his state “a beacon,” saying if New York can do it, it’s right for others to do it.

The new legislation doubles the number of gay Americans who are eligible to marry and makes New York the sixth state in the nation to legalize same sex marriage. It's only the second - after Vermont -  to do it by legislation rather than court action.

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