By JOSEPH SPECTOR
Albany Bureau Chief
ALBANY -- A year ago, a packed crowd inside the state Senate chamber roared when senators passed, 33-29, a bill to make same-sex marriage legal in New York - making it the largest state in the nation to do so.
Cheers could be heard from the hallways of the Capitol, and an impromptu chant of "U.S.A." broke out.
Now a year later, the effects of the same-sex marriage law are being felt across the state.
While the economic impact of the law has yet to be fully determined and a legal challenge is working through the courts, gay couples said they are experiencing something many never thought would come: equality.
"To be able to feel equal to your next door neighbors who are married and other family members, all of that has been kind of amazing," said Brian O'Neill, 42, an artist from Rochester. He and his partner Jim Hansen were the city's first couple to get married when the law took effect July 24.