Governor Cuomo signed into law the marriage equality act. Basically, it means that ” MARRIAGE THAT IS OTHERWISE VALID SHALL BE VALID REGARDLESS OF WHETHER THE PARTIES TO THE MARRIAGE ARE OF THE SAME OR DIFFERENT SEX.”
“NO GOVERNMENT TREATMENT OR LEGAL STATUS, EFFECT, RIGHT, BENEFIT, PRIVILEGE, PROTECTION OR RESPONSIBILITY RELATING TO MARRIAGE, WHETHER DERIVING FROM STATUTE, ADMINISTRATIVE OR COURT RULE, PUBLIC POLICY, COMMON LAW OR ANY OTHER SOURCE OF LAW, SHALL DIFFER BASED ON THE PARTIES TO THE MARRIAGE BEING OR HAVING BEEN OF THE SAME SEX RATHER THAN A DIFFERENT SEX. WHEN NECESSARY TO IMPLEMENT THE RIGHTS AND RESPONSIBILITIES OF SPOUSES UNDER THE LAW, ALL GENDER-SPECIFIC LANGUAGE OR TERMS SHALL BE CONSTRUED IN A GENDER-NEUTRAL MANNER IN ALL SUCH SOURCES OF LAW.”
However, no clergymen can be forced to perform a same-sex marriage. So, if a particular religion is against homosexual marriage, then that religion cannot be forced into performing one.
There is an important note of caution. This law only effects state law and benefits. Under the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) marriage is still only recognized as between a man and a woman. However, in 2013 the Supreme Court has ruled that DOMA is unconstitutional. In the long run, this means that homosexual spouses will be accorded the same rights as heterosexual spouses. The federal rules on this are currently be re-written. Expect some hangups and snags along the way for the next couple of years.