The New York State Senate, by a count of 38-24, has voted down a landmark bill that would have made New York the sixth state in the nation to legalize gay marriage.
The floor debate and vote came after months of delays and behind-the-scenes arm-twisting of Senators who were sympathetic to the bill, but who represented conservative districts.
Democratic leaders had worried about having enough votes. Eight Democrats voted "no" on the bill: Joseph Addabbo Jr., Darrel Aubertine, Ruben Diaz Sr., Shirley Huntley, Carl Kruger, Hiram Monserrate, George Onorato, William Stachowski. No Republicans voted "yes."
It's the latest defeat for gay marriage advocates. Earlier this month, voters in Maine approved a referendum that struck down a gay marriage law before it took effect.
Gay marriage is legal in Connecticut, Iowa, Massachusetts and Vermont. A New Hampshire law takes effect January 1.
In New York, Senate Democratic leaders say they will have to talk long and hard with members and know that they have a lot of work to do before the measure can be brought back to the floor for another try.
Speaker Christine Quinn released the following statement about the vote:
“Today the New York State Senate rejected an opportunity to declare that all citizens in New York are equal. The depth of sadness that I and many New Yorkers feel today is difficult to express. This is a loss for every family in New York. This is a loss for every Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender New Yorker.
“I want to thank Senator Tom Duane, Senator Sampson and the rest of the Senate leadership for bringing this issue to a vote on the Senate floor. I applaud them for their dogged leadership on this issue.
“I also applaud every Senator who voted in favor of this civil rights bill. Each of them stood up today and declared that all people should be equal and nobody should be treated differently. I thank all the Senators who spoke so movingly on the Senate floor. I want to deeply thank the advocates who have worked so long and so hard on this issue.
“Today is not, however, by any means, the end of the fight for same-sex marriage in New York State. We will continue to work and fight for equal rights, and if anything our efforts will only be made all the stronger by today's vote.
“My partner and I are not able to legally marry in New York State. My same-sex neighbors and constituents are not able to legally marry in New York State. But we will continue to work, to fight and to educate. We will continue to support those amazing advocates who spend every day fighting for LGBT New Yorkers equal rights. We will not accept defeat and we will not stop fighting until all New Yorkers are treated equally. I sincerely believe that some day LGBT New Yorkers will be able to legally marry.”
Tell us what you think about gay marriage in New York. Post your comments below.