The vote for gay marriage is a major setback for Archbishop Timothy Dolan and the Catholic Church in New York which fought the legislation tooth and nail.

However, it is clear that the church power has waned in the aftermath of the pedophile sex scandals which have plagued the church in recent years.

Until quite recently a 'belt of the crozier' from the Catholic church would have stopped any such gay marriage bill in its tracks, especially one actively promoted by a Catholic governor.

Not any more and the church now looks exposed because of its opposition and its failure to turn the tide,

Dolan and another leading Irish American, Michael Long of the Conservative Party, made last ditch efforts to overturn the legislation which passed 33-29 with four Republican votes.It was signed into law by Governor Andre Cuomo.

Afterwards the church issued a statement which read;

"We strongly uphold the Catholic Church's clear teaching that we always treat our homosexual brothers and sisters with respect, dignity and love. But we just as strongly affirm that marriage is the joining of one man and one woman in a lifelong, loving union that is open to children, ordered for the good of those children and the spouses themselves.

This definition cannot change, though we realize that our beliefs about the nature of marriage will continue to be ridiculed, and that some will even now attempt to enact government sanctions against churches and religious organizations that preach these timeless truths."

Regardless of the statement the church has been comprehensively defeated on one of their signature issues. The four Republican senators, two of them Catholic, who voted for the bill and the Senate leader Senator Dean Skelos who allowed the vote have made clear that it was a personal decision and they refused to be swayed by the Church lobbying.