NPR logo New York State Senate Rejects Same-Sex Marriage Bill

New York State Senate Rejects Same-Sex Marriage Bill

The New York State Senate has voted down a bill that would legalize same-sex marriage, and the vote wasn't even close. By a margin of 38-24, lawmakers rejected the bill after what the New York Times' Jeremy Peters described as "an emotional debate that touched on civil rights, family and history."

The action followed approval of the bill in the state Assembly, which has a much larger Democratic majority and where the vote yesterday was 88-51. In the Senate, where the Dems have a 32-30 advantage, and the bill was strongly supported by Gov. David Paterson (D), the measure failed to get a single GOP vote. Of the 32 Democrats, 24 voted for it and eight opposed it. But it was the speech of a Democrat, Ruben Diaz Sr. of the Bronx, who made the most impassioned speech against the bill.

Describing his continued opposition as reflecting the broad consensus that marriage should be limited to a union between a man and woman, [Diaz said]. "Not only the evangelicals, not only the Jews, not only the Muslims, not only the Catholics, but also the people oppose it."

The action comes a month after Maine became the 31st state to block same-sex marriage through a referendum. Same-sex marriage is legal in Connecticut, Iowa, Massachusetts and Vermont; New Hampshire joins the group on Jan. 1, 2010.