April 15th, 2009
05:00 PM ET

What if New York becomes 5th state to legalize gay marriage?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

New York could become the fifth state to legalize gay marriage. Governor David Paterson is expected to introduce legislation tomorrow that would make marriage between same-sex couples legal in New York.

Last week, Vermont became the first state to enact a same sex civil marriage law through legislation, and not a court order.

Paterson has previously said he's committed to bringing "full marriage equality in New York state," adding it's a problem that gays and lesbians who live in a civil union aren't entitled to around 1,300 civil protections that are available to married couples.

Former New York Governor Eliot Spitzer introduced the same bill back in 2007 - it passed the Assembly but died in the state Senate. It's expected the bill would pass the Assembly once again, but would need support from some Republicans in order to pass the Senate.

Supporters are hoping that the momentum is there for the bill to pass this time around. That's because Iowa's Supreme Court recently overturned a ban on same-sex marriage; and Vermont's Legislature also just voted to allow gay couples to marry. Same-sex marriage is also legal in Connecticut and Massachusetts.

Although these four states have legalized gay marriage, polls suggest the majority of Americans remain opposed to the idea. A CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll from December shows 55 percent of those surveyed don't think gay marriages should be recognized by law as valid; 44 percent think same-sex marriages should be recognized.

Here's my question to you: What would it mean if New York becomes the fifth state to legalize gay marriage?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

Deb from Lancaster, Pennsylvania writes:
From a local perspective, it would mean that Pennsylvania would have to consider the question of recognition of these unions, since New York is a bordering state. That is an issue that we have pretty much managed to handle with the Ostrich Formula: Bury your head and hope it can't find us. Fat chance.

Ron from Florida writes:
So what? Do you think the majority of the American people really care about this subject? Think about it. This applies and is of concern to gays and their supporters. There are too many more IMPORTANT issues to worry about for my nickel.

Nancy from Tennessee writes:
New York will just be one more state allowing gay marriages that the rest of the country will have to recognize or challenge. When a gay couple resides in a state that does not recognize gay marriage, what marital laws apply to that couple? The laws of the state of residence or the laws where they were married? Complicated issue.

Norah from Ocala, Florida writes:
It shows that New York is throwing off the shackles of the Dark Ages and joining this century, Jack. As a straight, married woman, I truly don't understand the hullabaloo. How can recognizing the legal union of two people in a loving and committed relationship be anything but good? How does it threaten heterosexuals in any way?

Chad from Los Angeles writes:
It means people on both sides of this issue are wasting money on this legislation. There are 100 more important issues going on right now. Is this really a critical issue when we are trying to recover from the worst president in history?

Bill from Jupiter, Florida writes:
Jack, It would finally allow Californians to refer to New Yorkers as "Those Wackos Back East."

Filed under: Gay Marriage
soundoff (38 Responses)
  1. NANCY M.- Colorado

    I guess it would mean that there are people who do really believe in "equal rights".

    April 15, 2009 at 12:51 pm |
  2. Kevin in Dallas, TX

    Any additional state would be a good thing, but the fact that it's New York wouldn't mean much. It's a very liberal state. Now what would it mean if Utah legalized gay marriage?

    April 15, 2009 at 12:56 pm |
  3. CHRIS

    I don't agree with gay marriage, I believe that GOD created man and woman to pro create and build a family and so forth and so on.

    April 15, 2009 at 12:57 pm |
  4. Melissa

    Good for them. Personally I think the right "to marry whomever the adult chooses" needs to be added to the Constitution as a human right. We should celebrate because humanity is one step closer to equality in a nation that claims to uphold such with the highest regard. I'm so tired of the prejudice.

    April 15, 2009 at 12:57 pm |
  5. Alina

    It would mean that NY finally came to its senses.

    April 15, 2009 at 1:06 pm |
  6. Boz D

    Eventually gay marriage will be legalized in all fifty states. And just like the women's right to vote and school integration, no one will think a thing about it.

    April 15, 2009 at 1:08 pm |
  7. Scott from Dallas

    It would mean that civil rights has finally become valued again in 10% of our country. And teabagging will no longer be the entertainment of just Republicans in New York.

    April 15, 2009 at 1:10 pm |
  8. T. Gates

    It is a step forward for a state that should have been one of the first to do this.

    T. Gates, New York

    April 15, 2009 at 1:30 pm |
  9. Dean in PA


    In 20 years this will be looked upon as slavery, women's rights, civil rights, etc. are looked upon today, it will be past history, but the nasayers will always complain. Most others will never remember which states lead in the change for the betterment of this great country of ours.

    April 15, 2009 at 1:32 pm |
  10. Darin

    It means they are the 5th state to understand and respect human equality.

    April 15, 2009 at 1:42 pm |
  11. Suzanne Jupiter, FL

    If New York legalizes Gay Marriage it means we are one state closer to having what the Constitution promises to it's citizens....equality for all!

    April 15, 2009 at 1:48 pm |
  12. Lisa, San Jose CA

    It would mean gay people could get married in New York.

    I guess the radical right used up so much of their resources promoting 'prop hate' in my state that the rest of the country was able to do an end-run around their narrow-mindedness.

    April 15, 2009 at 1:48 pm |
  13. Ray in Nashville

    It will mean one more burr up the conservatives behinds.

    April 15, 2009 at 1:54 pm |
  14. Joe in DE

    Hard to see anything special in being the 5th state. More significant if some stae that has adopted, reverses.

    April 15, 2009 at 1:54 pm |
  15. Jane S. Nixon in Phoenix Az.

    It means we will listen to more alarmists telling us that the country is "going to hell in a handbasket".

    April 15, 2009 at 1:55 pm |
  16. JOY


    April 15, 2009 at 1:58 pm |
  17. Tara McKinney, Texas

    It means there will be a lot of happy gay people in New York.

    April 15, 2009 at 1:59 pm |
  18. Peter

    So what Better to be 5th than 50th
    Aldergrove Canada

    April 15, 2009 at 1:59 pm |
  19. Rosemary Warren

    As far as I am concerned Jack, the world would be a much better place if we just (live and let live)

    Ontario Canada
    Ontario allows gay marriage

    April 15, 2009 at 2:00 pm |
  20. David Bebeau,Springfield Missouri

    Who Cares....................I'd rather talk about fighting pirates

    April 15, 2009 at 2:13 pm |
  21. Ryan, Galesburg, IL

    It means that decency and equality may have a chance to prevail in America, at long last.

    April 15, 2009 at 2:20 pm |
  22. jyll in Texas

    Thank God I live in Texas......

    April 15, 2009 at 2:21 pm |
  23. Tina Tx

    This does not bother me. Aren't all men/women supposedly to be treated as equals?

    April 15, 2009 at 2:23 pm |

    It means that we are eventually going to let gays live their lives with full citizenship. It means tha using the Bible as an excuse for hatred is not as cool as it used to be. It means that the constitution has some good ideas in it, and is still the law of the land.

    April 15, 2009 at 2:35 pm |
  25. John in Norfolk

    Funny how it's ok to introduce legislation in one state to legalize gay "marriage" yet not ok to introduce legislation to protect traditional marriage through a constitutional amendment in another state. Most people don't believe gay "marriage" should be legal, yet our elected representatives continue to pass laws to allow it. Something is broken here, I think.

    April 15, 2009 at 2:36 pm |
  26. Larry from Georgetown, Texas

    It would mean that New York is just one more nail in the coffin of our countries lack of morality and holding true to the belief that marriage is a union between a woman and a man. However, let them pass it as I'm sure the divorce courts can handle the new business and the lawyers will like it as it will help increase their business.

    April 15, 2009 at 2:41 pm |
  27. don (in naples, florida)

    why not let gays marry? there are only 2 arguments that i know of going against gay marriage- "ooh that gross," or "yuck". Neither of these arguments stand up in a court of law.

    April 15, 2009 at 2:43 pm |
  28. Joshua Brader

    It would mean a whole bunch of people could go out and get married. To the detriment of absolutely no one.

    April 15, 2009 at 2:43 pm |
  29. Terry from North Carolina

    It was just a matter of time, sooner or later this would have happened it doesnt surprise me that its New York. This wont make a difference in the next Governors election, David Patterson will not be re-elected.

    April 15, 2009 at 2:52 pm |
  30. Michael "C" Lorton, Virginia

    Jack: It would mean absolutely "nothing." New Yorkers have more serious problems to worry about and everybody "floats their own boats."

    April 15, 2009 at 2:55 pm |
  31. pat

    look on the positive side Jack ,they cant breed .only adopt

    April 15, 2009 at 3:03 pm |
  32. Jay in Texas

    It would mean that New York's legislators, who support equality for all Americans, should be commended for taking an enlightened and courageous stand on this important constitutional and civil rights issue.
    Brownwood, Texas

    April 15, 2009 at 3:20 pm |
  33. Agnes from Scottsdale, AZ

    Jack: It would mean that this is what the people want and the churches need to back off and find another topic to scream about!

    April 15, 2009 at 3:28 pm |
  34. Syed Rahman - Michigan

    It would mean an increase in wedding receptions in NY. Neigbouring states would lose out on the much needed revenue especially in these tough times.

    April 15, 2009 at 3:32 pm |
  35. J Georgia

    I don't really care.

    April 15, 2009 at 3:35 pm |
  36. Don (Ottawa)

    What difference does it make. NY does what it wants to do anyway.

    April 15, 2009 at 3:38 pm |
  37. Matt Lord, Cedar Springs GA

    It's time the govt gets out of our bedrooms.

    April 15, 2009 at 3:38 pm |
  38. Lynn, Columbia, Mo..

    I think it would mean that the US is finally honoring the separation of church and state and giving all citizens equal rights. I love New York and the other four states. They are true Americans.

    April 15, 2009 at 3:42 pm |