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from FaithWorld:

National impact expected from New York gay marriage law: experts

(A rainbow flag symbolizing gay pride hangs from the awning of a store in New York June 22, 2011/Shannon Stapleton)

When New York became the sixth and by far the largest state to legalize same-sex marriage, following a grueling overtime session in the state legislature, it immediately transformed the national debate over the issue, legal experts said.

With a population over 19 million -- more than the combined population of the five states that currently allow gay marriage, plus the District of Columbia, where it is also legal -- New York is poised to provide the most complete picture yet of the legal, social and economic consequences of gay marriage.

"I think that having same-sex marriage in New York will have tremendous moral and political force for the rest of the country -- in part because New York is a large state, and in part because it hasn't come easily," said Suzanne Goldberg, a professor at Columbia Law School.

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