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NY Lawmakers Reject Gay Marriage Bill

ALBANY, N.Y. - The New York Senate on Wednesday afternoon rejected a bill to legalize same-sex marriage in New York, a setback to gay-rights advocates who spent months lobbying senators to support the measure.

The Senate brought the bill to the floor without a clear sense of whether it would pass. It failed 24-38, a larger disparity than most observers expected. None of the 30 Republicans voted for the bill, while eight Democrats also voted no.

New York would have been the sixth state to legalize same-sex marriage, joining Connecticut, Iowa, Massachusetts and Vermont. In New Hampshire, the law takes effect next year.

Several Republicans were thought to possibly vote for the bill, including Sens. James Alesi of Perinton (Monroe County), Vincent Leibell of Patterson and Thomas Morahan of New City.

But they voted no, and no Republican spoke on the floor to explain their vote.

The Assembly early Wednesday morning voted to legalize same-sex marriage 86-51 for the third time in recent years. It did so to clear the way for the Senate vote as largely a technical matter because the Senate and Assembly are in special session, which requires the same bills to pass both houses to become law.

Gov. David Paterson has advocated for the measure and has vowed to sign it into law. Last month, Senate leaders pledged to bring same-sex marriage to the floor for a vote before year's end.

Paterson joined the bill's sponsor, Sen. Thomas Duane, D-Manhattan, on the Senate floor after the vote. They said they were disappointed, but were confident the measure will ultimately become law.

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