The movement to legalize "gay marriage" nationwide scored a landmark victory Friday night when New York's Senate passed and the governor signed a bill making the state the most populous -- and easily the most influential one -- to redefine marriage.
The bill passed the Republican-controlled body, 33-29, and Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed it just before midnight. Voting for it were 29 Democrats and four Republicans. The Assembly had already passed it. The bill will take effect in 30 days.
Conservatives warned the law, despite what critics said, would negatively impact religious freedom.
Just two years ago, a "gay marriage" bill failed in the Senate when it was controlled by Democrats. But this time, several senators flipped from "no" to "yes" votes.
The new law says that, when examining New York marriage laws, "all gender-specific language" shall be defined "in a gender-neutral manner." It also recognizes marriages "without regard to whether the parties are of the same or different sex."
New York's influence on other states, particularly New Jersey -- where "gay marriage" is not legal -- is viewed as significant by many observers. The state is influential for another reason: Most major television outlets are headquartered there.