New York Senate Again Delays Vote on Same-Sex Marriage

Posted June 24th, 2011 at 11:10 am (UTC-5)
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Lawmakers in the U.S. state of New York have yet to decide whether to vote on legalizing same-sex marriage.

State senators had been expected to vote on the bill Thursday but ended their session without doing so.

The Senate's Republican leader said members of his party are meeting privately Friday to take up the issue again and discuss whether a vote should be taken.

The bill has already been approved by the Democrat-controlled state Assembly, but remains one vote short of enough support for passage in the Republican-controlled Senate.

The majority party has introduced several amendments that would exempt from lawsuits religious groups who disapprove of gay marriage.

If the bill is approved and signed into law, New York would join Vermont, New Hampshire, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Iowa and Washington, D.C. in allowing gay couples to marry.

The developments Thursday coincided with President Barack Obama's speech before a group of gay rights supporters at a campaign fundraising event in New York City.

Mr. Obama told the crowd that gay couples deserve the same legal rights as any other couple in this country, but he 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.