New York Gay Marriage Statistics & Facts


Gay Marriage In New York

New York is one of the busiest states in the country, and with so many people you'd think the state would be current before any other. While gay couples could be together freely and have civil unions in many parts of the state, New York gay marriage was something that wasn't officially allowed until 2011. Once the Supreme Court ruled that gay marriage was legal in the state of New York, and all states going forward, the ball really got rolling in terms of change around the country. has all New York gay marriage statistics you need to know. Read on to find out how New York became one of the states that allowed gay marriage.

New York Gay Marriage History

New York is one of the busiest and largest states, but gay marriage in the state didn't come up for wide-spread public debate until 2004 after an event in New Paltz village. Setting events in motion for gay marriage to become legal in New York, Mayor Jason West made a bold move on February 27th 2004. Mayor West legally married 25 gay couples in front of the town's city hall, and a large crowd. After this, West was charged by the District Attorney with 19 misdemeanors for performing the marriages, which were later dropped in court. However, a new judge examined the case and ruled that West had violated his oath of office and performed illegal marriages. The judge considered the case more of an issue of mayoral misconduct than a constitutional issue regarding gay marriage in New York. On July 12th 2005, all charges against Jason West were dropped, but the marriages he performed came into question when a civil lawsuit was filed challenging if they were valid. In response, state court ruled that West was banned from sanctifying gay marriages. This case really set the debate on gay marriage on fire in the public, with multiple politicians issuing statements and opinions. Gay marriage in New York has been legally recognized since July 24th 2011, under the Marriage Equality Act. The Act allows gender neutral marriages for same and opposite sex couples, and prohibits any and all organizations from refusing to recognize or sanctify marriages. Prior to this, there wasn't anywhere for gay couples to go within New York state to obtain a marriage licence. New York would only recognize gay marriage performed out of state before the Marriage Equality Act.

The Attorney General at the time, Eliot Spitzer, had issued a public opinion that marriage be between opposite sex couples. Not long after his opinion was published, 5 separate lawsuits were brought before the courts, which challenged New York's policy that marriage only be between a man and woman. Only one of those cases was successful, but they were all combined into one case which was heard by the Court of Appeals. The Court ruled that there was no constitutional right within that state that permitted or supported New York gay marriage. This decision fueled supporters of gay marriage into the upper levels of the court systems in order to have these marriages recognized and allowed. The state Supreme Court eventually ruled that New York must recognize gay marriages performed out of state because it does the same for opposite sex couples. This means that gay married couples were able to benefit from the same advantages offered by the state to spouses that straight couples did. New York is one of the most influential states in the country based on the sheer volume of people and diversity. When this state voted in favor of legal gay marriage, the whole country saw it as the first step in what would hopefully become a domino-effect of legislation for states that allow gay marriage. Thankfully, it appears that this is exactly what was happening. States across the country were changing their history books to reflect the historical decision of marriage equality.

New York Gay Marriage Statistics

When it comes to public opinion, majority of New Yorkers are in favor of gay marriage. A 2009 poll found that 53% of voters supported New York same-sex marriage, while 39% were opposed to it. Most people in the state seem to have had a positive vote toward legalizing same-sex marriage in New York. More than half of those who voted were in favor of gay marriage being legal, years before the Supreme Court passed the bill to do so.

In the first year of gay marriage becoming legal in New York, the number of same-sex marriages was estimated at 12,285. A 2011 poll taken after the passage of the Marriage Equality Act found that 55% of voters supported gay marriage, and 63% of respondents don't want the bill to be overturned. The majority of people in New York clearly support equal marriage rights, and would fight to keep them.

The first time that gay marriage legislation actually passed in New York was June 2007, in the New York State Assembly. Another bill to legalize gay marriage passed the State Assembly a second time in 2009. Some senators refused to vote on the bill until they were sure it would pass, forcing those who proposed the bill to get supporters in those government seats. Advocates had been claiming that gay marriage would pass through Senate by summer of 2009, however the bill to legalize it was not even looked at until December of 2009. The New York State Senate defeated the motion to have gay marriage legalized, but the decision was a very close one. In late 2010, then-governor David Paterson met with Senate members to figure out their position when it came to supporting or opposing gay marriage in New York. He determined that the group was not ready to vote in support of gay marriage legislature, so it would have to wait for now. He believed that the previous votes he saw in support of gay marriage laws were prematurely decided.

Gay households in New York are increasing in number, slowly but steadily. Between 2000-2010, the number of gay homes went up 4.05% in a decade. The number was slowly going up, and so was support in favor of gay unions. Of all coupled households in 2010, a census found that the number of gay couples who live together was roughly 48,932. A similar census done 2 years later found that around 3.8% of New York's household population were gay. This might not seem like a significant number, but when the entire population of New York state is broken down into categories by living situation, the numbers start to look small. What is significant with the number is that it's going up every year. People are comfortable being public about their sexual orientations, and in their support of gay marriage. Having government officials who are openly gay represented doesn't hurt when you want an open and positive attitude toward the subject.

Current Status Of New York Gay Marriage

New York gay marriage is legal and has been since the July 24, 2011 Marriage Equality Act. With such a massive population of people, especially gay people, marriage equality was only a matter of time in New York. It's difficult to discriminate for long in a melting pot of cultures and lifestyles, which is exactly what New York is. This is especially true of New York City, one of the busiest cities in the world. Now that a legislative bill has been passed by the highest court in the country, there's very little chance that those who are opposed would be successful in trying to overturn it. The most surprising aspect to the legalization of gay marriage in New York is that it took so long to happen. Being possibly the most diverse and multicultural area of the country, it's surprising that gay marriage wasn't legalized prior to the 21st century. The main thing is that it is now!

Future Status

The future status of gay marriage in New York is positive. As one of the biggest metropolitan areas with one of the largest gay populations in the country, chances are very low that legal gay marriage is going away. With thousands of gay people seeking equal marriage rights with straight couples, things will only be changing in their favor. New York governors, legislatures, and District Attorneys are not only vastly and publicly in support of gay marriage and equal rights, but openly gay men and women are members of these cabinets. Now that gay marriage is legal in the state of New York, it's here to stay.

For more information on gay marriage in New York check out:

- The Future of Same-Sex Marriage In New York
- Same-Sex Couples FAQ In New York

To find out about gay marriage statistics in North Carolina, Click HERE.

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