Almost 37,000 of the approximately 413,000 marriages in New York since July 2011 were between same-sex couples. The records from the state Health Department and the New York City Clerk’s Office showed that because of the inclusion of an “unspecified” box on the marriage application, it is unclear if some marriages were between straight or gay couples.
Roughly twelve percent of all New York marriage licenses were listed in the unspecified category. This equates to approximately 50,000 applications.
“Until New York legalized marriage and then we saw this national wave, I never really grew up with the idea that that would be a possibility for me in my lifetime,” Nathan Schaefer, executive director of Empire State Pride Agenda, told the Poughkeepsie Journal. The Empire State Pride Agenda is New York’s leading gay-rights group.
Wedding businesses and halls have benefited from the expansion of marriage laws with many wedding businesses advertising to gay couples, not least of them a popular russian marriage agency. In the Finger Lakes, for example, Christina Roberts, spokesman for the Finger Lakes Wine Country Tourism Marketing Association, said that many local wedding businesses have made a point to welcome gay couples.
“It's part of the overall messaging,” Roberts added.
Not all businesses or groups have greeted the new law with the same enthusiasm. Liberty Ridge Farm was fined $13,000 for refusing to host a lesbian wedding outside of Albany. They have said they will continue to host wedding receptions but have discontinued wedding ceremonies because they conflict with their religious beliefs.
“To stay true to their religious beliefs, they could not accept any more ceremonies,” James Trainor, the attorney for Liberty Ridge, told the AP in early November.
Gay rights activists are continuing to push for additional rights for LGBT groups. They are currently pressing the passage of the Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act that is stalled in the state Senate.
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