Those in favor of same-sex marriage may have another victory under their belt.  Late Friday, June 25, 2011, the New York Senate voted to legalize same-sex marriage in a 33-29 vote.  The vote in favor of same-sex marriage was a bit of a shock to some since the New York Senate is led by Republicans (traditionally anti-same-sex marriage).  The New York House has already approved the bill.

When Would Same-Sex Marriages Begin In New York?

With the same-sex marriage bill approved by both the Senate and the House, it appears New York will be the sixth state to legalize same-sex marriage.  Governor Cuomo signed the bill into law Friday night as well.  In fact, New York could begin to grant marriage licenses as early as next month.

Some Strong Exceptions To Same-Sex Marriage In New York

While the bill appears to allow for any same-sex couple to be married, there are a few exceptions built into the bill. First, the law contains a “religions exception.”  This exception grants immunity from civil liability to religious institutions that oppose a gay marriage or don’t participate in services or other activities promoting the institution.  Basically, this means that someone cannot sue the Catholic Church for failing to grant a marriage to a same-sex couple.

Additionally, there is some push for the law to be appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court.  However, this would pose a series of problems, including the fact that the Supreme Court rarely gets involved with hot-button cultural issues until there is a general change of opinion within the U.S.  Here, the Supreme Court could actually declare that the states that do not allow same-sex couples to marry are actually violating the constitution (that would be about 40 states).  While it is difficult to imagine the Supreme Court arguing that the vast majority of the U.S. is violating the Constitution, it has before, in a 1989 flag burning case (in which the court ruled flag burning is constitutionally protected).

What do you think?  Is this the beginning of gay marriage across the country?