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New York Next in Line to Legalize Gay Marriage?

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By Javier Lavagnino, Esq. on April 15, 2009 11:54 AM

Right on the heels of Vermont's legalization of gay marriage, governor David Paterson reportedly intends to introduce a bill doing the same in New York.

Governor Paterson justified the legislation as follows, according to the AP:

"Paterson said Tuesday the measure is necessary because gays and lesbians in civil unions are denied 1,200 to 1,350 civil protections such as health care and pension rights since they're not married."

This actually wouldn't be the first such effort in New York, as the same bill was killed procedurally in the state Senate in 2007. However, the Senate was controlled by Republicans in 2007, and in the meantime control has since switched (narrowly, 32-30) to Democrats. Opponents, however, are promising the same result this time around and it remains to be seen if party lines will be adhered to. Despite the rising momentum in various states toward the legalization of gay marriage, opposition remains stiff and even the Senate's Majority Leader, Malcolm Smith, doesn't believe there are enough votes to pass the bill (though he does support it).

Vermont was the fourth state to legalize gay marriage, and only after that state's House barely overcame Governor Jim Douglas's veto, and laws legalizing gay marriage continue to be considered in other New England states such as Maine and New Hampshire. On the bright side for gay marriage advocates and supporters, at least a veto by the governor is not something that they will have to worry about in New York.

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