New York state senate rejects gay marriage bill

ALBANY — The New York State Senate defeated a bill on Wednesday that would legalize same-sex marriage, after an emotional debate that touched on civil rights, family and history, the New York Times reports.

The vote means that the bill, pushed by Gov. David Paterson, is effectively dead for the year and dashes the optimism of gay rights advocates, who have had setbacks recently in several key states.

There were twenty-four votes in favor of the bill, named the Marriage Equality Act, and 38 votes against it. Thirty-two votes were needed for passage. The New York State Assembly had already passed the legislation.

The bill was defeated by a decisive margin of 38 to 24.

The Democrats, who have a bare, one-seat majority, did not have enough votes to pass the bill without some Republican support, but not a single Republican senator voted for the measure. Still, several key Democrats who were considered swing votes also opposed the bill.

Paterson, a Democrat facing a difficult election campaign in 2010, strongly backed the bill. A Marist College poll released Wednesday showed 51 percent of those who live in New York state support same-sex marriage, while 42 percent oppose it.

New York also does not allow civil unions, though it does grant gay couples some of the rights granted married couples.

After the vote, Paterson called Wednesday one of his saddest days in 20 years of public service and he criticized senators who he said support gay marriage but “didn’t have the intestinal fortitude to vote for it.

Full story at The New York Times.

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