Gay Marriage Vote Nears in New York

Despite failing by a wide margin in 2009, a bill legalizing gay marriage in New York State now stands just two Republican votes short of passage. If approved in a vote that is expected later this week, the bill would cap an intense lobbying effort and make New York the most populated state in the nation to allow gays and lesbians to wed.

The proposal has long had enough support in the New York Assembly, which approved same-sex marriages two years ago. Attention in recent days has been concentrated on the Senate, where the measure died the last time around but where there has been a gradual building of support since then.

On Monday (June 13), four previously undecided senators - three Democrats and one Republican - announced that they would vote for the bill . The announcement came after the senators received thousands of letters, phone calls and constituent visits expressing strong sentiments on the legislation.

The fact that a Senate Republican joined Democrats for the first time in backing gay marriage encouraged the bill's supporters, leaving them within striking distance of the majority they need. "I believe that votes will be there for marriage equality if the vote happens," said Governor Andrew Cuomo, who has made the proposal one of his key legislative priorities.

But one social conservative, Brian Brown of the anti-gay marriage National Organization for Marriage, accused the governor of creating a "myth of inevitability" surrounding the legislation. "I don't think the votes are there," he said, noting that only 30 of 62 state senators have committed to the bill.

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