New York became the sixth state to legalize same-sex marriage with the affirmative vote by the state senate on June 24, 2011. However, grass roots efforts to pass such a law began many years earlier. In fact, it could be said that Upstate NY and the City of Rochester played a key part, and had a unique leadership role in advocacy and inclusion efforts for GLBT people at the levels of both church and state. This talk will review the Rochester area’s history of gay and lesbian rights groups and worship communities, and present information on current organizations and individuals whose efforts have united diverse community members in support of civil and religious equality for same-sex couples. Special attention will be paid to the interrelationship between advocacy for civil rights, and advocacy for acceptance of same-sex relationships within religious organizations.