New York becomes sixth state to legalize same-sex marriage; property tax cap also approved

06/25/2011 12:30 AM |

The state Senate approved a bill late Friday that makes New York the sixth state to legalize same-sex marriage. The Marriage Equality Act, championed by Governor Andrew Cuomo, was approved 33-29 Friday in the GOP-led Senate.

The Democratic-led Assembly passed a same-sex marriage bill last week and earlier Friday they approved an amended version.

“New York has finally torn down the barrier that has prevented same-sex couples from exercising the freedom to marry and from receiving the fundamental protections that so many couples and families take for granted,” Governor Cuomo said in a statement.

Each of Long Island’s nine Senators voted in opposition to the bill, making up nearly a third of the no votes. Locally, the bill was voted down by both Senator Ken LaValle (R-Port Jefferson) and Assemblyman Dan Losquadro (R-Shoreham).

Neither legislator issued a public statement in the first few hours following the vote.

PROPERTY TAX CAP APPROVED

Local Republicans rejoiced Friday with the passage of a 2 percent cap on annual state property tax increases.

Assemblyman Dan Losquadro called the bill perhaps the most important of his first session in Albany.

“A tax cap will provide Long Island homeowners with important relief from some of the highest property taxes in the nation, and I am pleased that I helped to pass this important taxpayer-protection initiative,” he said in a statement.

Mr. Losquadro said the tax cap is an important first step toward true tax relief for local residents. He said the next step will be to expand on the unfunded mandate reforms also passed Friday, which he said in its current form won’t do enough to ease the burden on local school districts.

Assemblyman Dean Murray (R-Medford), who has cosponsored legislation for a three-year moratorium on unfunded mandates, called the mandate-relief component of the legislation a disappointment.

“Our work to eliminate all unfunded mandates needs to begin immediately,” he said in a statement.