The New York State Senate voted tonight with 33 senators voting in favor of marriage equality, making New York State the sixth and largest state to allow same sex couples to marry. New York joins the list of five states and one territory - Massachusetts, Connecticut, Iowa, New Hampshire, Vermont, and Washington D.C. in allowing same sex couples to marry After almost passing two years ago, marriage equality is now a reality in New York State.

The biggest obstacle to passing the bill came in the form of additional protections for religious organizations who are not in support of gay marriage.

More than gay couples benefit from the passing of gay marriage - the economy of New York State could see a $184 million dollars increase (with an additional $142 million into the economy of New York City) via spending with hotels, florists, bakeries, suit and dress retailers, and many other wedding related businesses could see a boom in business. Tourism may increase as couples come from other states to wed as well. According to state records in Massachusetts, same sex marriage in that state has added $110 million a year to the state economy.

With gay marriage comes gay divorce; it is estimated that if the gay divorce rate mirrors the straight divorce rate of 8.4% and there are an estimated nearly 22,000 gay couples expected to get married over the next few years, that would be nearly 2,000 divorces - another chunk of money being added to the economy.

Prior to this vote, New York State, along with Rhode Island and Maryland, was recognizing same sex marriages performed in other states, but not civil unions. Proponents of marriage equality herald this as a victory not only for civil rights but also as a potential catalyst to pass marriage equality in other states.