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New York State Moves Toward Legalizing Same-Sex Marriages

June 20, 2011


Glenn Greenwald

constitutional law attorney and political and legal blogger for

This week, New York may become the sixth and most populous state to legalize gay marriage. Supporters of LGBT rights say the significance of such a large state joining Iowa and four New England states could help turn the tide on the issue. “It would be a huge historic day for equality,” notes our guest, openly gay blogger Glenn Greenwald. But he says it would not convince him to return to live in New York because the federal government will continue to deny benefits, even to legally married couples in these states, as a result of the federal Defense of Marriage Act, which remains in effect. [includes rush transcript]


This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.

AMY GOODMAN: Finally, gay marriage. If one more vote turns, New York is poised to be the sixth state that will allow gay marriage, the most populous state. The significance of this, Glenn Greenwald?

GLENN GREENWALD: It would be unbelievably significant. I mean, thus far, four small New England states plus Iowa have legalized it. But if New York, with its population — and it’s not as liberal of a state as people think. It has a Republican — it has had Republican governors over the past couple of decades. It has a Republican mayor in New York. If it does that, it really is hard to see the tide not turning in favor of gay marriage and numerous other states following suit. It would be a huge historic day for equality in the United States if it happens.

AMY GOODMAN: If it happens, Glenn — you live in Brazil — would you consider moving back to New York with your partner?

GLENN GREENWALD: Well, the unfortunate aspect is that the federal government will continue, and amazingly, not to give any benefits, even to legally married couples in these states, as a result of the Defense of Marriage Act. And so, until the Defense of Marriage Act is lifted, the federal government will refuse to grant immigration, other federal rights, even to legally married couples in the United States. So it’s the repeal of the Defense of Marriage Act that will enable binational couples, such as the one I’m in and thousands of others, to live with their spouse in the United States, if they so choose.

AMY GOODMAN: Glenn Greenwald, I want to thank you for being with us, constitutional law attorney and political and legal blogger for

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