A flood of engagements have taken place since June 24, 2011. The occasion is the legalization of same sex marriage in New York. Many same sex couples who have been in committed relationships for years but who have been awaiting New York’s legalization of gay marriage have finally taken a leap of faith, become engaged, and are planning their weddings.
Although New York previously recognized same sex marriages that were legally performed in other states and New York Courts even granted divorces to same sex couples who were legally married in other states, same sex marriage was prohibited in New York until June 24, 2011 when the Marriage Equality Act passed the State Senate by a vote of 33-29. Same sex marriage was legalized by the New York State Legislature and Governor Cuomo. And as of July 24, 2011, same sex couples can be married in New York.
According to a report by the Independent Democratic Conference, 21,000 gay and lesbian couples from New York will get married within the first three years of the legalization of same sex marriage in New York. Moreover, approximately 42,000 same sex couples are estimated to travel to New York from out of state to be married in New York during this time.
New York is the sixth state in the United States to legalize same sex marriage. Alongside New York are Connecticut, Iowa, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Vermont and the District of Columbia. Civil unions are approved in Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois and New Jersey. However, same sex marriage is still currently banned in 39 states.
So how will the legalization of gay marriage affect matrimonial law, if at all? The answer to this question remains to be seen. But one thing is almost certain, the new law will increase the number of people in need of divorce-related legal services.