New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced June 24 the passage of the Marriage Equality Act, which legalizes same-sex marriage in New York state.
The legislation amends the state's Domestic Relations Law to state that:
* A marriage that is otherwise valid shall be valid regardless of whether the parties to the marriage are of the same or different sex.
* All marriages, including same-sex marriages, shall receive the same government treatment, status, effect, right, benefit, privilege, protection and responsibility.
* All relevant gender-specific language in the state's laws shall be construed in a gender-neutral manner.
* No application for a marriage license shall be denied on the ground that the parties are of the same or a different sex.
"The passage by the Legislature of a bill to alter radically and forever humanity’s historic understanding of marriage leaves us deeply disappointed and troubled," the state's bishops said in a June 24 statement released by the New York State Catholic Conference. "We strongly uphold the Catholic Church’s clear teaching that we always treat our homosexual brothers and sisters with respect, dignity and love. But we just as strongly affirm that marriage is the joining of one man and one woman in a lifelong, loving union that is open to children, ordered for the good of those children and the spouses themselves. This definition cannot change, though we realize that our beliefs about the nature of marriage will continue to be ridiculed, and that some will even now attempt to enact government sanctions against churches and religious organizations that preach these timeless truths."
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