June 24, 2011 (LifeSiteNews.com) - In a major blow to efforts to protect true marriage in the United States, the New York Senate voted Friday evening to legalize gay “marriage” in a 33-29 vote.

The Assembly has already passed their own same-sex “marriage” bill and Assembly Leader Sheldon Silver (D-Manhattan) has stated that the Assembly will approve whatever comes out of the Senate.

Given that Governor Andrew Cuomo has been the driving force behind the legislation, it is practically guaranteed to become law. Homosexual couples will be able to get “married” within 30 days after the governor signs the bill.

The vote represented a defeat for Sen. Ruben Diaz, Sr. (D-Bronx), the lone Democrat who had waged a hard fought campaign to defeat the same-sex “marriage” bill, and had been successful the year before.

Diaz expressed shock on the floor that the Republicans, “the party that always defended family values,” had enabled same-sex “marriage” to pass. “God, not Albany, has settled the definition of marriage, a long time ago,” he said.

Shortly before the vote, senators had passed an amendment that provided stronger religious protections. That amendment passed 36-26.

However, earlier in the day Brian Brown of the National Organization for Marriage (NOM) had criticized the new religious liberty language, saying that it does not guarantee that religious entities will not be forced with the choice of going out of business or violating core beliefs, as has happened in other states which have legalized same-sex “marriage.”

“This is deceptive language that does not do what it promises,” said Brown. “NOM has run this bill by several religious liberty scholars and they say they cannot even tell whether the language will permit Catholic adoption agencies to stay in business.”

Prior to the vote, the state’s Catholic bishops had issued an impassioned appeal urging senators to vote to protect marriage. New York Archbishop Timothy Dolan has been at the forefront of the fight for traditional marriage in the state.

“The Bishops of New York State oppose in the strongest possible terms any attempt to redefine the sacred institution of marriage,” they said. “The matter of religious exemptions has been and continues to be a secondary issue that in no way negates the fact that this bill is bad for society. We urge all Senators to vote no on Governor Cuomo’s bill. Marriage has always been, is now, and always will be the union of one man and one woman in a lifelong, life-giving union. Government does not have the authority to change this most basic of truths.”

However, their statement did not stop Republican Senator Mark Grisanti, in a speech moments before the vote, from simultaneously proclaiming his “Catholic” identity, and saying that “reason” had led him to throw his support behind gay “marriage.”

Grisanti had been one of the key “undecideds” in the GOP caucus, whose votes carried the weight to either pass or kill the vote. “As a Catholic I was raised to believe that marriage is between a woman,” he told the Senate, but added that after doing months of “research,” he had decided, “I cannot legally come up with an argument against same-sex marriage. Who am I to say that someone does not have the same rights that I have with my wife?”

In response to tonight’s vote, NOM’s Brian Brown promised to commit “at least $2 million” in elections in 2012 to topple Republicans who voted for gay “marriage” from office.

“The Republican party has torn up its contract with the voters who trusted them in order to facilitate Andrew Cuomo’s bid to be president of the U.S.,” he said.  “Selling out your principles to get elected is wrong.  Selling out your principles to get the other guy elected is just plain dumb.”

“Gay marriage has consequences for the next generation, for parents, and for religious people, institutions and small business owners.  Politicians who campaign one way on marriage, and then vote the other, need to understand: betraying and misleading voters has consequences, too.  We are not giving up, we will continue to fight to protect marriage in New York, as we are actively doing in New Hampshire and Iowa.”