The New York state Assembly approved same-sex marriage on Wednesday, voting 80 to 63 in favor of the marriage equality bill introduced by Governor Andrew Cuomo. The bill will still face a vote in the Senate on Friday, where it only needs support from one more senator to pass. The Senate is currently controlled by Republicans— however, 31 of the 62 senators have publicly indicated support for the bill.
Senator Ruben Diaz is the only Democrat out of the party’s 30 senators who does not support same-sex marriage, while Republican senators Jim Alesi and Roy McDonald have expressed interest in voting in favor of it.
New York’s Assembly has passed a bill legalizing same-sex marriage several times in recent years, but the move was rejected the first time it was voted on by the then Democrat-led Senate in December 2009.
“Only second-class states have second-class citizens,” said Assemblyman Charles Lavine, a Democrat who voted in favor of the bill.
On Tuesday, actress Cynthia Nixon of “Sex and the City” and New York Ranger ice hockey player Sean Avery lobbied lawmakers in Albany to legalize gay marriage.
If the bill passes on Friday, same-sex couples could start marrying in New York 30 days later. New York would join Connecticut, Iowa, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Vermont and the District of Columbia in allowing same-sex marriage. The first legal same-sex marriages in the United States took place in Massachusetts in 2004. If passed, the bill does not compel any member of the clergy to conduct a same-sex marriage.