UPDATE: Watch Sen. Hassell-Thompson's moving speech below and Sen. Savino's plea here.
UPDATE: The gay marriage bill has failed to pass in New York.
From the Associated Press:
ALBANY, N.Y. -- New York lawmakers have rejected a bill to legalize gay marriage.
The Senate decision Wednesday comes after months of delays and arm twisting of lawmakers sympathetic to the bill but representing conservative districts. It follows a referendum in Maine earlier this month that struck down a gay marriage law before it took effect.
Advocates say they aren't surprised by the decision. Most, including Gov. David Paterson, say they at least wanted a floor debate and vote.
Gay marriage is legal in Connecticut, Iowa, Massachusetts and Vermont. A New Hampshire law takes effect Jan. 1.
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ALBANY, N.Y. (Associated Press) -- New York's Senate will take a long-awaited vote on a bill to legalize gay marriage.
But the outcome of the vote Wednesday that could give final legislative approval to the measure remains in doubt.
The bill will need 32 votes to pass. And Democratic Sen. Liz Krueger, a leader in the majority, says the measure will need Republican votes because of opposition from some of the chamber's 32 Democrats.
Krueger says gay rights advocates believe they'll get at least a few Republican votes. But Republican Sen. Thomas Morahan says his conference hasn't taken a head count and he's not sure enough GOP senators will support the legislation.
Gay marriage is legal in Connecticut, Iowa, Massachusetts and Vermont. A New Hampshire law takes effect next year.
UPDATE 2:57 pm: The bill is lost. Gay marriage fails to pass in New York by a vote of 38 to 24.
UPDATE 2:40 pm: Debate is closed. Slow roll is happening RIGHT NOW!
UPDATE 2:35 pm:
Sen. Duane: "I'm an aging gay -- hopefully gracefully, but it's been tough here recently."
UPDATE 2:25 pm: Sen. Duane, who is openly gay, opens with a joke. Brings some levity to the situation before speaking from personal experience.
"There's never a good time for civil rights... but the paradox is that it's always the right time to be on the right side of history."
UPDATE 2:08 pm: There have been some incredibly moving pleas from gay marriage supporters so far.
Sen. Hassell-Thompson gave an impassioned speech about how her older brother was gay and fled the United States. It was the first time she publicly discussed her brother's plight. You could hear a pin drop the whole time she spoke.
Sen. Perkins, like many of the bills supporters, leaned heavily on civil rights language, saying, "I can see Dr. Martin Luther King looking down on us today and smiling upon us."
Sen. Oppenheimer, questioned people reasoning that gay marriage would "diminish" heterosexual marriage. "Why would it diminish my marriage? I don't understand when people say that to me." Oppenheimer, who is Jewish, also brought up the Holocaust as an example of normalized atrocities.
The biggest surprise so far has been Sen. Valesky, who moved from the undecided to "yes."