New York Legislature Delays Vote on Same-Sex Marriage

Posted June 24th, 2011 at 6:05 am (UTC-5)
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Lawmakers in New York state have postponed a final vote on legislation to legalize same-sex marriage until Friday.

The bill has already been approved by the Democrat-controlled Assembly, but remains one vote short of passage in the Republican-controlled Senate. The majority party has introduced several amendments that would exempt religious groups who disapprove of gay marriage from lawsuits.

If the bill is approved and signed into law, New York would join Vermont, New Hampshire, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Iowa and Washington, D.C. to allow homosexual men and women to marry.

The debate over the same-sex marriage bill coincided with U.S. President Barack Obama's speech before a group of gay rights supporters at campaign fundraising event in New York City Thursday.

Mr. Obama told crowd that gay couples deserve the same legal rights “as any other couple in this country,” but did not fully endorse same-sex marriage. The president has upset gay rights activists for his support of civil unions over marriage, but recently said his views on the matter are “evolving.”

Mr. Obama defended his administration's record on gay rights, including repealing the ban on homosexuals serving in the military, and ordering the Justice Department to stop defending a law that narrowly defines marriage as that between a man and a woman.