Today is a historic day for New York. Today, we recognize the legitimate union of two loving adults without discrimination. Today, all New Yorkers will be able to share the same rights and responsibilities when they enter into a state-sanctioned marriage. With the passage of marriage equality, we will no longer be treated as second class citizens. Gay and lesbian couples can now publicly declare their love, respect and devotion to each other before their families, friends and communities.
Although this issue is mostly about love and committed relationships, it is also about providing legal rights to same-sex couples currently enjoyed by opposite sex couples. For years, many of us have fought to have our love, our commitments and our relationships treated with the respect and dignity opposite sex couples already enjoy.
One of the many new rights included with the passage of marriage equality is the right for same-sex couples to file their state income taxes jointly. The issue of joint filing is one of many areas that left same-sex couples behind and that is why I fought and introduced legislation to make sure couples, whether gay or straight, had this option (A.4454). I am pleased to see that the Department of Taxation and Finance has now addressed this issue administratively.
I am proud to stand with my family, friends and colleagues, both straight and gay, as we continue to move our state forward. I am honored and privileged to have been part of making this landmark law, marriage equality, a reality that validates our ideals that all people should be treated as equals.
I look forward to continuing to make sure that every New Yorker is able to have equal opportunities and is treated with respect that each of us deserve.