Although many obstacles still lie ahead, supporters of same-sex marriage hope a historic victory in New York will build momentum for their cause nationwide.
Legislators approved a bill late Friday making New York the sixth — and by far the most populous — state to legalize same-sex marriage.
Activists hope the vote will help convince judges and politicians across the country — including President Barack Obama — that support of same-sex marriage is now a mainstream viewpoint and a winning political stance.
Fred Sainz of the Human Rights campaign says New York's law "sends the message that marriage equality across the country is a question of 'when,' not 'if.'"
Action by Congress or the Supreme Court will likely be needed if same-sex marriage is to be recognized nationally.