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Late on Friday evening, June 24, 2011, the State Senate of New York passed the Marriage Equality Bill, granting marriage licenses to same-sex couples in the Empire State. The most populous state to legalize same-sex marriage, New York joins Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Vermont, Connecticut, Iowa, and Washington D.C.
Passage of the bill gave New Yorkers something new to cheer about during their 42nd Annual Gay Pride Parade on Sunday. An estimated 6,000 people from the LGBT community along with their supporters celebrated as floats rode by, one holding Governor Andrew Cuomo, signer of the landmark legislation. "Cuomo was the parade's rock star, eliciting loud cheers and shrieks as he made his way down Fifth Avenue, " the San Francisco Chronicle reported. "The roar became almost deafening as the parade turned onto the narrow Christopher Street." Christopher Street, home of the Stonewall Inn and site of the Stonewall Riots, has remained a cradle for the LGBT community of New York since the 1960s.
New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg said Friday, "New York has always been a leader in movements to extend freedom and equality to people who had been denied full membership in the American family."
Impetus to pass the bill came after a group of democratic State Senators presented a report that found that becoming a destination for same-sex weddings could generate millions of dollars in revenue for the state. With the law scheduled to go into effect July 24th, New York City is launching a new tourism campaign known as "NYC I Do," to attract potential brides and grooms.
While the passage of the Marriage Equality Bill in New York is a significant victory for the LGBT community, same-sex marriage is banned in most American states.
Stonewall Uprising is available to watch online.
Lauren Noyes is a Production Assistant for AMERICAN EXPERIENCE.
Category: Behind the Headlines