This is definitely very good news. Bigotry was handed a defeat in New York state, and it is always an occasion for celebration when bigotry loses. Otherwise, other people have covered this, so I will just link you to their articles. The Friendly Atheist made note of the religious exemptions, while Mike the Infidel notes that he thinks this exemption is a good thing; the bigotry of religion is recorded into law. 50-or-so years from now, when gay marriage is legal country-wide, the religious groups will have a tough time claiming they were not all that against gay marriage.
Here are some of the bigoted comments from church leaders:
The leading opponent, Democratic Sen. Ruben Diaz, was given only a few minutes to state his case during the Senate debate.Keep it classy, thee of much faith!
"God, not Albany, settled the issue of marriage a long time ago," said Diaz, a Bronx minister. "I'm sorry you are trying to take away my right to speak," he said. "Why are you ashamed of what I have to say?"
The Catholic Bishops of New York said the law alters "radically and forever humanity's historic understanding of marriage."
"We always treat our homosexual brothers and sisters with respect, dignity and love," the bishops stated Friday, "We worry that both marriage and the family will be undermined by this tragic presumption of government in passing this legislation that attempts to redefine these cornerstones of civilization."
"State legislators should not decide society-shaping issues," said the Rev. Jason McGuire of New Yorkers for Constitutional Freedoms. He said his organization would work in next year's elections to defeat lawmakers who voted for the measure.