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Gay marriage one vote away from passing in Albany

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A historic bill to legalize gay marriage in New York appeared Tuesday to be one vote away from passing in the Senate, after Gov. Andrew Cuomo formally introduced the legislation.

“Marriage equality is a matter of fairness and legal security for thousands of families in this state,” Cuomo said.

As a compromise with Republicans, the bill guarantees that religious institutions and benevolent groups don’t have to accommodate same-sex marriages -- they would be exempted from anti-discrimination laws.

Sen. Roy McDonald, of Saratoga County, joined Sen. James Alesi, of the Rochester area, to say he'll vote for the measure. Twenty-nine of the 30 Democrats plan to back it, with Bronx Sen. Ruben Diaz the sole holdout.

It was unclear if a third Republican would pledge support, but Cuomo has said he only would introduce the bill if the votes were there. Republican senators could conference today about whether to bring the measure to a floor vote before the legislative session ends on Monday.

A same-sex marriage bill in the Assembly is expected to pass, as it has in previous years.

While celebrities, including Rangers player Sean Avery and actress Cynthia Nixon, lobbied in Albany yesterday, pressure remained from religious groups for lawmakers to defeat the measure.

“The stampede is on,” Archbishop Timothy Dolan wrote in a blog post. “Our elected senators who have stood courageous in their refusal to capitulate on the state’s presumption to redefine marriage are reporting unrelenting pressure to cave-in.”

Meanwhile, the battle surrounding a property tax cap and city rent control law extension continued to rage. The rent laws endorsed by the GOP lack the tenant protections sought by Assembly Democrats.
 

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