New York Senate rejects same-sex marriage legislation

The New York Senate rejected legislation Wednesday that would have legalized same-sex marriage. The sponsors of the bill, supported by New York Governor David Paterson, were unable to marshal the votes required to pass the bill out of the state senate, where the Democratic Party holds a single seat majority. Despite earlier suggestions of the possibility, no Republicans voted in favor of the legislation, resulting in a final vote of 38-24. Gay rights groups such as the Human Rights Campaign expressed disappointment after the vote, while the National Organization for Marriage welcomed the vote as a "huge win." Also on Wednesday, a Marist college poll was released finding that same-sex marriage is supported by 51 percent of New York's registered voters, and opposed by 42 percent.

Paterson introduced the bill to the state legislature last April, and it passed in the General Assembly by a margin of 89-52. The bill was again passed by the lower body in anticipation of the senate vote, as required by state law. Wednesday's vote comes as a blow to advocates for same-sex marriage, who faced another defeat last month when Maine voters vetoed a same-sex marriage bill passed by that state's legislature.

The Maine vote came a year after California voters approved Proposition 8, an amendment to the state constitution overturning the state's high court ruling in favor of same-sex marriage. Same-sex marriage is legal in four states in the US, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Iowa, and Vermont, and will be legal in New Hampshire starting January 1. New York is currently one of the few US jurisdictions to recognize same-sex marriages performed in other states.

(Published by Jurist - December 2, 2009)

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