Gay Marriage Bill Soon To Pass?

Gay pride and the American flags decorate the desks as Assemblyman Daniel J. O'Donnell is photographed in the Assembly room before the Assembly votes on the gay marriage bill, Wednesday, June 15, 2011 in Albany, N.Y. /AP Photo

Yesterday both supporters and opponents of gay marriage weighed in as state lawmakers debated whether or not to make New York the sixth state to legalize same-sex marriage.

According to the Huffington Post, the measure that would legalize gay marriage was first introduced by Governor Andrew Cuomo, Democrat and strong advocate, is currently just one vote away from passing in the state Senate.

The legislation would include exemptions for religious organizations and affiliated charities to protect them from litigation if they did not want to be involved in same-sex weddings.

Last week the state Assembly approved the bill by a landslide. Today is the last day of legislation before summer recess begins.

Timothy Dolan, the Archbishop of New York, demonstrated his and the Catholic Church’s opposition to gay marriage in a statement whereby he vowed to oppose any bill that would redefine marriage. In Albany, state Majority Leader Republican Dean Skelos, a Long Island republican, said that the bill as written has prompted many concerns over its religious clauses and exemptions.

Although the bill does not force any member of the clergy to conduct same-sex marriages some Republican lawmakers are concerned that the legal protection is not strong enough. Cuomo has indicated that he is open to including more specific exemptions for religious groups.

Yet recent polling shows an overall statewide support for gay marriage and many supporters rallied this weekend across the state.

If the gay marriage bill passes in New York, it will be the sixth and most populous state to allow gay marriage, demonstrating a huge victory for gay rights in America.

Currently Massachusetts, Connecticut, Iowa, New Hampshire, Vermont, and the District of Columbia allow gay marriage. Surprisingly, gay marriage is specifically banned in 39 states.

Although the legislative session ends today, supporters and opponents of the bill may have to wait till later in the week to learn whether or not the bill has passed.