New York's Senate will take a long awaited vote on a bill to legalize same-sex marriage.
The state Assembly has already passed the bill. But the outcome of today's vote, which could give final legislative approval to the measure, remains in doubt.
A key senator and supporter of the bill, Democrat Craig Johnson, says he feels there are enough votes for passage. That's a sentiment Gov. David Paterson, who has been an avid proponent of the legislation, shared back in October.
The bill didn't pass then, and Sen. Liz Krueger, a Manhattan Democrat and a leader in the majority, is among those who aren't sure it'll pass now. She says it will need Republican votes to pass because a few of the chamber's 32 Democrats object to it on religious grounds. However, Krueger says gay rights advocates believe they'll get at least a few Republican votes, which may be enough for passage.
Republican Sen. Thomas Morahan says his conference hasn't taken a head count and he's not sure enough GOP senators will support the bill, which requires 32 votes to pass.
If the bill passes, New York would become the sixth state to legalize gay marriage. Gay and lesbian couples can already get legally married in Massachusetts, Connecticut, Iowa and Vermont, and will start in New Hampshire in January. A referendum in Maine on Nov. 3 overturned 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 New Jersey, California, Hawaii, Washington, Oregon, Nevada, Colorado and Wisconsin.