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The Nation: Welcome To The 21st Century, New York

Revelers celebrate during the Gay Pride parade on June 26, 2011 in New York City. The parade took on extra significance following Friday night's legalization of same-sex marriage in New York, often regarded as the birthplace of the gay rights movement. Mario Tama/Getty Images hide caption

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Mario Tama/Getty Images

Revelers celebrate during the Gay Pride parade on June 26, 2011 in New York City. The parade took on extra significance following Friday night's legalization of same-sex marriage in New York, often regarded as the birthplace of the gay rights movement.

Mario Tama/Getty Images

Nancy Goldstein's work has appeared in venues including the Guardian, NPR, Politico, Salon, Slate and many others.

Hurrah! New York has, at long last, decided to join the twenty-first century and recognize the right of same-sex couples to civil marriage.

Make no mistake: this is a Big Deal. With the exception of Iowa, New York is the first state outside of the New England region to marry queers; it's also the most populous. What a relief to end this embarrassing episode in history, when the Sodom and Gomorrah of the world lagged behind Catholic strongholds like Portugal, Mexico City, Spain, Argentina and Brazil in supporting marriage equality.

Congratulations, first of all, go to Assemblyman Daniel J. O'Donnell, the primary hero of this story. He sponsored the bill and has led this fight for the past decade, alongside Tom Duane in the Senate. Senator Jim Alesi, the first Republican senator to support the bill, deserves a ton of credit for being the first to cross over from his side of the aisle. So does Senator Roy McDonald for following soon thereafter. Kudos to the Empire State Pride Agenda, the Human Rights Campaign and the rest of the New Yorkers United for Marriage coalition for pushing the issue.

Read the rest of this piece at The Nation.