New York State on Friday became the sixth state to allow same-sex marriages.

After a long debate, the state Senate approved the marriage bill 33-29 and Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) signed it late Friday.

"New York has finally torn down the barrier that has prevented same-sex couples from exercising the freedom to marry and from receiving the fundamental protections that so many couples and families take for granted," Cuomo said in a statement. "With the world watching, the Legislature, by a bipartisan vote, has said that all New Yorkers are equal under the law. With this vote, marriage equality will become a reality in our state, delivering long overdue fairness and legal security to thousands of New Yorkers."


New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who had been part of a high-powered lobbying effort in favor of allowing same-sex marriages, called it an "historic triumph for equality and freedom."

"New York has always been a leader in movements to extend freedom and equality to people who had been denied full membership in the American family," Bloomberg said in a statement. "By welcoming all people - no matter where they are from, what faith or philosophy they follow, or whom they love - New York became the strongest, most dynamic city in the world. And today, we are even stronger than we were yesterday."

New York joins Connecticut, Iowa, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Vermont and Washington, D.C. in allowing same-sex marriages. It was legal in California and Maine until voter referendums overturned laws in those states.

California's Proposition 8, which reversed the state on same-sex marriages, is being challenged in court.