Same-Sex Marriage in New York

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Dr. Kermit Roosevelt

Professor of Law

University of Pennsylvania Law School

            Media contact: Steve Barnes at or 215-573-5181


“The New York legislation is another predictable step in the evolution of public opinion towards greater acceptance of same-sex relationships. Judicial decisions holding that bans on same-sex marriage constituted unreasonable discrimination came earlier. That was to be expected, since courts are designed more to protect vulnerable minorities than to reflect majoritarian public opinion.

“That we are now seeing support for same-sex marriage in majoritarian legislatures and greater sympathy for claims of sexual orientation discrimination within the Obama administration suggests that support for same-sex marriage has crossed the 50 percent threshold — which is exactly what the polling data show.  But to say that all this is driven by public opinion is not to say that it is not legitimate constitutional development: the movements for race and sex equality followed exactly the same path and are now well entrenched in our constitutional understanding, though they were not always.”


Dr. Rogers Smith

Professor of Political Science

University of Pennsylvania

            Media contact: Jeanne Leong at or 215-573-8151


"The progress of LGBT rights during decades of resurgent American conservatism is perhaps the most remarkable feature of modern American politics.  New York's action is a landmark, because it's not a judicial decision in a small state, it's the act of the elected legislature in a very big state.  Same-sex marriage will be strongly contested for years to come but this development strongly suggests that history is on its side."