New York state lawmakers vote against gay marriage: 38-24

New York state lawmakers voted against legalizing gay marriage on Wednesday, dashing hopes of gay rights activists that it would become the sixth U.S. state to allow same-sex couples to get married.

The New York state senate voted down the legislation 38 votes to 24.

Governor David Paterson, a Democrat who supports gay marriage, had said he would sign the bill into law if it were passed.

In a debate that in many instances was cast in unusually personal tones, many senators delivered emotional speeches on the floor of the chamber, equating the struggle for gay rights to the civil rights movement or the battle women have waged for equality.

One of the bill’s sponsors, State Senator Thomas K. Duane of Manhattan, who is gay, said the bill would finally give him something that as a New Yorker he has never enjoyed.

“This legislation would merely provide me and tens of thousands of other New Yorkers with equal rights in New York State," Mr. Duane said. “It would make me equal in every way to everyone else in this chamber.”

Senator Liz Krueger, a Democrat who represents Manhattan’s Upper East Side and another of the bill’s sponsors, said her grandparents came to the United States to escape persecution against Jews. As a Jew and a woman, Ms. Krueger said her decision to support same-sex marriage was easy to make.

But State Senator Ruben Diaz Sr. of the Bronx made an impassioned argument against same-sex marriage, describing his continued opposition as reflecting the broad consensus that marriage should be limited to a union between a man and woman. “Not only the evangelicals, not only the Jews, not only the Muslims, not only the Catholics, but also the people oppose it,” he said.

Iowa, Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Vermont have legalized gay marriage, while 40 U.S. states have specific laws that ban gay marriage.

Last month Maine became the 31st state to block same-sex marriage through a referendum. The Maine State Legislature had voted to legalize same-sex unions earlier this year, but opponents of gay rights gathered enough signatures to put the measure on the ballot.

Last year, California voters repealed same-sex marriage after the State Supreme Court said that gay couples had the right to marry.

New York became the latest state where gay rights advocates have made considerable progress only to see their hopes dashed.

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