New York expected to vote on same sex marriage bill

By Agence France-Presse
Thursday, June 23, 2011 17:32 EDT
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NEW YORK — The New York senate prepared to vote on a gay marriage law Thursday, after amending the state assembly-approved bill at the request of Republican officials, said a legislative source.

If the vote takes place, it will happen at about the the same time that President Barack Obama gives a speech in New York at a gala to raise funds for the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) community.

“There are some other pieces of legislation that have to be finished before. It’s likely to be on the floor late today,” said one legislative spokesperson.

The senate, which should have recessed Monday evening, instead have been meeting in an extraordinary session to put the finishing touches on the bill’s language, designed to address legal protections for religious organizations.

The document needs 32 votes out of 62 to be adopted. Thirty one senators have expressed their support for legalizing gay marriage, an issue that has already been repeatedly rejected by the NY senate in recent years.

Sheldon Silver, president of the Democrat-majority NY state assembly that approved the original bill last week, has already announced that if the senate passes their version, the house would meet to vote on the amended text.

After the assembly vote, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, who introduced the bill, is expected to sign it into law.

If the law passes, New York would become the sixth and most populous state to approve gay marriage.

Currently, Iowa, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Connecticut and Vermont permit same-sex marriage.

States such as Hawaii, California, Nevada, Oregon, Washington DC and New Jersey offer civil unions to same-sex couples, but not marriage rights.

According to a March poll, the majority of Americans are currently in favor of allowing gay marriage, 53 percent to 44 percent.

Agence France-Presse
Agence France-Presse
AFP journalists cover wars, conflicts, politics, science, health, the environment, technology, fashion, entertainment, the offbeat, sports and a whole lot more in text, photographs, video, graphics and online.
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