New York Senate rejects same-sex marriage legislation

New York Senate rejects same-sex marriage legislation

[JURIST] The New York Senate [official website] rejected legislation [text; materials] Wednesday that would have legalized same-sex marriage [JURIST news archive]. The sponsors of the bill, supported by New York Governor David Paterson [official profile], 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 [NYT report]. Gay rights groups such as the Human Rights Campaign [advocacy website] expressed disappointment [press release] after the vote, while the National Organization for Marriage [advocacy website] welcomed the vote [press release] as a "huge win." Also on Wednesday, a Marist college poll was released [poll results] 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 [JURIST report] in the General Assembly [official website] 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 [JURIST report] a same-sex marriage bill passed by that state's legislature. The Maine vote came a year after California voters approved Proposition 8 [JURIST report], an amendment to the state constitution overturning the state's high court ruling [JURIST report] 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 [JURIST reports] starting January 1. New York is currently one of the few US jurisdictions to recognize [JURIST report] same-sex marriages performed in other states.