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Outspoken: Katy Perry, Matilda Cuomo, FIFA and more

“NEW YORK! I [love] U! You’re OFFICIALLY the coolest place on the planet!”

— Pop star Katy Perry, via Twitter, reacting to the New York Senate vote to legalize same sex marriage. (MTV News, June 25)

“Not that doing the right thing should be a matter of public opinion, but support for marriage equality is climbing toward the majority. Voices of fear are being shouted down, winds of change are blowing and we approach a crossroads of possibility where the need for leadership is critical. Two words of advice, then, for President Obama: Evolve faster.”

— Syndicated Miami Herald columnist Leonard Pitts, on how President Obama needs to speak out for marriage equality now (Daily Camera, July 4)

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National Organization for Marriage struggles post-New York

National Organization for Marriage logoThe National Organization for Marriage sent out an email to its supporters last week asking for funds to help combat the reelection efforts of seven New York senators, all of whom voted to legalize same-sex marriage, in the upcoming 2012 elections. NOM has pledged $2 million to “oppose pro-SSM legislators” in the coming election.

NOM is targeting Republicans and Democrats who voted in favor of marriage equality as part of a three-phase plan to put the marriage debate back on the table.

Via NOM's website:

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Augusta Pride draws thousands to second annual fest

Kristine W. performs at Augusta Pride

Last night's victory for gay marriage in New York was on the minds of many who packed the Augusta Commons today for the second annual Augusta Pride festival. But amid the repeated calls for marriage equality here in Georgia, it was the personal stories of love and commitment that sent the loudest message.

Under sweltering early afternoon sun, more than two dozen gay and lesbian couples filled the Augusta Pride stage for the festival's first public commitment ceremony. Many were in tears as they said their vows, declaring that "love not law has the final authority."

"This year our theme is 'Love Wins,' and with our particular relationship, love has been exactly what's won," said Dan Leonard, who serves on the Augusta Pride board and wed his partner of five years, Terry Ledford, during the ceremony.

"I found out three weeks after we met that I was [HIV] positive and Terry stood by me through it all," said Ledford, as both men broke down in tears. "I found out six months after that that I had renal cancer. He's been there through that. And just recently I've fought my way through anal cancer, and he's been there through that."

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New York to be sixth state to let gay couples marry

New York State on Friday night, June 24, became the sixth and most populous state to legalize marriage for same-sex couples. After a tense several days past the scheduled end of the legislative session, in which it was unclear if Republican leaders in the state Senate would even allow a marriage bill to come up for a vote, the Senate voted 33 to 29 in favor of the bill. The vote was taken at approximately 10:30 p.m. EDT.

The Assembly, which passed its version of the bill on June 15, voted again on Friday to approve several amendments agreed to by Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos (R-Nassau), Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver (D-Manhattan), and Governor Andrew Cuomo (D) after they met earlier in the week. The amendments passed the Assembly 82 to 47.

Governor Cuomo, who worked closely with marriage equality advocates and sent an early version of the marriage bill to both houses of the legislature on June 14, is expected to sign the bill. No date was known as of press time. The law will go into effect 30 days after his signature.

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Bill Clinton supports New York same-sex marriage movement

Former President Bill Clinton

Former President Bill Clinton favors New York allowing gay couples to marry, according to a press release issued by the Human Rights Campaign earlier today.

The HRC says that Clinton made the statement last week.

"Our nation's permanent mission is to form a 'more perfect union' - deepening the meaning of freedom, broadening the reach of opportunity, strengthening the bonds of community. That mission has inspired and empowered us to extend rights to people previously denied them. Every time we have done that, it has strengthened our nation. Now we should do it again, in New York, with marriage equality. For more than a century, our Statue of Liberty has welcomed all kinds of people from all over the world yearning to be free. In the 21st century, I believe New York's welcome must include marriage equality," Clinton's statement says.