New York gay marriage bill faces close Senate vote
NEW YORK — New York was one step closer to approving gay marriage after state legislators passed a same-sex marriage bill, even though the measure faces an uncertain vote in the Republican-led state senate.
By a vote of 80 to 63, the New York State Assembly approved the Marriage Equality Act late Wednesday after it was submitted by Governor Andrew Cuomo earlier this week.
The state’s Democratic-controlled lower chamber passed the measure in an 80-63 vote. The bill stipulates that “the marriages of same-sex and different-sex couples be treated equally in all respects under the law.”
“This is a matter of equity and justice,” said Democrat Sheldon Silver, speaker of the House.
“New Yorkers should have the right to marry whom they choose. Partners unable to enter into a civil marriage, and their children, lack basic legal protections taken for granted by married couples,” he said in a statement.
The Republican majority in the state senate however must now weigh in, and could vote as early as Friday on the bill. The senate rejected a similar measure in 2009.
New York city Mayor Michael Bloomberg called on Republican senators to approve the bill.
“At our founding, African-Americans were held in bondage. Catholics in New York could not hold office. Those without property could not vote. Women could not vote or hold office. And homosexuality, in some places, was a crime punishable by death,” Bloomberg said in a statement.
“Every generation has expanded upon the freedoms won by their parents and grandparents,” he said. “And the next great barrier standing before our generation is the prohibition on marriage for same-sex couples.”
Some senators who voted against the bill in 2009 said they will approve it this time around, mainly based on polls showing support for the measure.
In the senate, the bill needs at least 32 “yes” votes out of a total of 62 in order to pass.
According to news reports, 31 senators — 29 Democrats and 2 Republicans — have expressed support for the bill.