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On June 24th, New York became the fifth state to authorize marriage by same sex couples. Entitled the "Marriage Equality Act" the law will become effective on July 24th, 2011 and provides in relevant part that:

(1) A marriage that is otherwise valid shall be valid regardless of whether the parties to the marriage are of the same or different sex;
(2) No government treatment or legal status, effect, right, benefit, privilege, protection or
responsibility relating to marriage . . . shall differ based on the parties to the marriage being or having been of the same sex rather than a different sex.
(3) The act also provides that a marriage license shall not be denied on the ground that the parties are of the same, or a different, sex
and it protects religious entities by making clear they shall not be required to perform such marriages.

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