New York Assembly Passes Gay Marriage Bill
The State Assembly approved legislation on Tuesday night that would make New York the sixth state to allow same-sex marriage — a pivotal vote that shifts the debate to the State Senate, where gay rights advocates and conservative groups alike are redoubling their efforts.
In a sign of how opinion in Albany has shifted on the issue, several members of the Assembly who voted against the measure in 2007 voted in favor of it on Tuesday.
The final vote was 89 to 52, including the backing of five Republicans.
"The margin of victory and the balance of where the people come from who voted for this is broadening," said Daniel J. O'Donnell, a Democratic assemblyman from the Upper West Side who led the effort in the Assembly to gain support for the bill. "The state is demanding that we provide equality, and that's the message here."
Despite the conservative pressure, two Republicans spoke on Tuesday about why they dropped their opposition to granting same-sex couples the right to marry. Three Democrats who voted no in 2007 switched their votes to yes.
"There's that little voice inside of you that tells you when you've done something right, and when you've done something wrong," said Fred W. Thiele Jr., a Republican who represents the Hamptons. "That vote just never felt right to me. That little voice kept gnawing away at me."