Same-sex marriages are now made legal in New York, as the state governor signed law approving gay marriage on Friday evening.

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo on June 24 announced passage of the Marriage Equality Act, granting same-sex couples the freedom to marry under the law, an official release stated.

The law ensures that no government treatment or legal status, effect, right, benefit, privilege, protection or responsibility relating to marriage shall differ based on the parties to the marriage being the same sex or a different sex.

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, Governor Cuomo said.

As per the Marriage Equality Act, which amends New York's Domestic Relations Law, no application for a marriage license in the state shall be denied on the ground that the parties are of the same or a different sex, Cuomo added.

However, the amendment in the Marriage Equality Act attempts to protect the principles of various religious institutions and nonprofit groups with religious affiliations, ensuring that they will not be compelled to officiate at gay marriage ceremonies.

Religious entities will not be subject to any legal action for refusing marriage ceremonie, he said.

Same -sex weddings can begin in the coming 30 days, making New York the sixth and most populous U.S. state to allow gay marriage.

The newly signed New York marriage bill also paves way for same-sex divorce.

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