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Governor Cuomo Signs Legislation Conforming Laws to Marriage Equality Act

 Updates Language in Estates, Powers and Trusts Law and Surrogate's Court Procedure Act to Recognize Same Sex Marriages

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today signed legislation (S.300/A.5604) conforming laws in estate planning and surrogates court procedures to the Marriage Equality Act. Signed by Governor Cuomo in 2011, the Marriage Equality Act provides that marriages of same-sex and different-sex couples are to be treated equally in all respects under the law. This new law updates the language in the Estates, Powers and Trusts Law to recognize same sex marriages by removing phrases such as "husband/wife" and replacing it with phrases that recognize both same-sex and different-sex marriages, such as "spouses, husbands or wives." In the Surrogate's Court Procedure Act, the phrase "father and mother" is updated and replaced with "parents" to recognize both same-sex and different-sex parents. The law goes into effect immediately.

"Marriage equality is about dignity and respect for the LGBTQ community, which is why New York was the first big state in the nation to get it done," Governor Cuomo said. "With this measure we're ensuring every law on our books, no matter how technical, is reflective of the fact that families sometimes have two dads or two moms or two husbands or two wives - and we celebrate that diversity because it's what makes New York who we are."

Senator Brad Hoylman said, "With today's signature of our legislation (S.300/A.5604), Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature reaffirm our historic leadership on marriage equality. It's a shame that it took eight years for the State Senate to consider this bill, but thanks to Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins, issues of fairness and decency towards LGBTQ New Yorkers are now firmly on the front-burner in our chamber. As the only openly-LGBTQ member of the Senate, I'm grateful to Governor Cuomo for his continued support of our community, Majority Leader Stewart-Cousins and my Senate colleagues, and Assembly sponsor Daniel O'Donnell, who passed the original legislation signed by the Governor in 2011 guaranteeing couples like my husband and me our rights under the law."

Assembly Member Daniel J. O'Donnell said, "The signing of this bill represents my husband and I finally being fully recognized by New York State as a same-sex couple. Seven years ago when we married, John and I were so happy we didn't even realize that on our license I was listed as the wife. I'll be honest - it was fun while it lasted - but I'm glad that Senator Hoylman and I were able to come together to correct the record for our families and so many others around the state, and I thank the Governor for signing this legislation today."