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New York Senate rejects same-sex marriage legislation

[JURIST] The New York Senate [official website] rejected legislation [text; materials] Wednesday that would have legalized same-sex marriage [JURIST news archive]. The sponsors of the bill, supported by New York Governor David Paterson [official profile], were unable to marshal the votes required to pass the bill out of the state senate, where the Democratic Party holds a single seat majority. Despite earlier suggestions of the possibility, no Republicans voted in favor of the legislation, resulting in a final vote of 38-24 [NYT report]. Gay rights groups such as the Human Rights Campaign [advocacy website] expressed disappointment [press release] after the vote, while the National Organization for Marriage [advocacy website] welcomed the vote [press release] as a "huge win." Also on Wednesday, a Marist college poll was released [poll results] finding that same-sex marriage is supported by 51 percent of New York's registered voters, and opposed by 42 percent.

Paterson introduced the bill to the state legislature last April, and it passed [JURIST report] in the General Assembly [official website] by a margin of 89-52. The bill was again passed by the lower body in anticipation of the senate vote, as required by state law. Wednesday's vote comes as a blow to advocates for same-sex marriage, who faced another defeat last month when Maine voters vetoed [JURIST report] a same-sex marriage bill passed by that state's legislature. The Maine vote came a year after California voters approved Proposition 8 [JURIST report], an amendment to the state constitution overturning the state's high court ruling [JURIST report] in favor of same-sex marriage. Same-sex marriage is legal in four states in the US, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Iowa, and Vermont, and will be legal in New Hampshire [JURIST reports] starting January 1. New York is currently one of the few US jurisdictions to recognize [JURIST report] same-sex marriages performed in other states.

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Paper Chase is JURIST's real-time legal news service, powered by a team of 30 law student reporters and editors led by law professor Bernard Hibbitts at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. As an educational service, Paper Chase is dedicated to presenting important legal news and materials rapidly, objectively and intelligibly in an accessible format.

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