New York Gov. David Paterson said Thursday that he expects to sign a same-sex marriage bill into law in the coming weeks.
UPDATE 11/8/09: Homosexualists' prospects for New York diminished after this week's events
-- From "Paterson says gay marriage bill will pass in NY" by Michael Gormley, Associated Press Writer 10/23/09
Paterson said he expects the state Senate to give the measure final legislative approval in weeks ahead and then he will sign it, making New York the seventh state to legalize same-sex marriage. Paterson can't force the Senate to take up the bill and admitted to reporters he can't guarantee its approval, but he says he's now confident it will pass, as advocates and sponsors of the bill in Albany have been quietly working to build support.
The bill was blocked by a summer coup in the Senate in the final days of the regular session in June. The Democrat-led Assembly has already passed the measure.
More than a year ago, Paterson had framed the debate as a civil right long denied. But divisions among Senate Democrats earlier this year made approval unlikely after a few Democrats in the 32-30 majority objected to the bill on religious grounds.
Now, however, Senate Republican leader Dean Skelos of Nassau County says GOP senators won't be asked to vote against the measure in a bloc and are free to vote for the bill.
Same-sex marriage is legal in Massachusetts, Connecticut, Iowa and Vermont, and will start in New Hampshire in January. A referendum in Maine on Nov. 3 will determine the fate of a same-sex marriage bill passed by the Legislature in May.
Several other states offer civil unions, domestic partnerships or other arrangements that provide marriage-like rights to same-sex couples, including California, Hawaii, Washington, Oregon, Nevada, Colorado and Wisconsin.
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