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Gay Marriage Bill One Vote Away in New York

Sleepy Hollow resident Eric Lackner thinks no one should be discriminated against and anyone who wants to marry – including gay couples - should be allowed to do so.

“I think as long as they have the same deal as everyone else, I don’t see why there’s any difference,” he said. “They’re the same people as everybody else. Plenty of heterosexual marriages are terrible.”

State Lawmakers are just one vote away from passing a same-sex marriage bill in New York. Senator Roy McDonald (R-Saratoga) announced Tuesday that he will support the bill, making him the 31st Senator to do so publicly. The measure needs 32 votes to pass the Senate.

The possibility of same-sex marriage doesn't faze Tarrytown resident Daniel Peixoto. He's all for it.

“Why shouldn’t people be able to marry who they want to marry anyway? Who are we to judge,” Peixoto said.

The legislation could hinge on two key votes by Senators from Westchester and the Hudson Valley. On Tuesday, Governor Andrew Cuomo formally introduced the bill in both the Assembly and Senate.

State Senator Greg Ball (R-C, Patterson), whose district includes Peekskill,  Yorktown, Somers, Mount Kisco and Bedford announced Wednesday that he does not support the bill as it's currently written.

The Senator said he "made it clear to Governor Cuomo" that he would be an "absolute no vote," unless there are proper religious exceptions, including the Catholic Church.

"We can push forward an issue without it being a compete affront on those who have strongly-held religious beliefs," said Ball.

State Assemblyman Steven Saland (R-Poughkeepsie), who is considered to be another swing vote, has stated he is "undecided" about the measure.

Many religions feel that same-sex marriage is not something that should be legalized.

“Marriage is between a man and a woman,” Tarrytown First Baptist Church Pastor Torrey Robinson said.

Although his convictions lead him to that conclusion, Robinson added that it doesn’t mean his church would turn away gay men and women.

Father Louis Mazza of the Immaculate Conception Church in Sleepy Hollow also noted that the Catholic Church does not believe in same-sex marriage. Mazza said same-sex marriage was “against the law of God” and the natural law of man.

Same-sex marriage legislation was defeated in the New York State Senate in 2009.  It has passed in the Assembly numerous times. If approved, New York would become the sixth state in the nation to issue same-sex marriage licenses. Gay marriages are currently recognized in New Hampshire, Connecticut, Massachussetts, Iowa, Vermont, Washington D.C. and Oregon.

A vote on the measure is expected Friday. Governor Cuomo has said he supports same-sex marriages and is expected to sign the bill if it's passed.

David Juhren, the executive director of the Westchester-based lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans-gender community services center LOFT, said the group was excited that same-sex marriage was at this stage. LOFT is cautiously optimistic about the legislation and if it passes they plan to have a celebratory rally.

Do you support same-sex marriage? Tell us in the comments or email mshamburger@mainstreetconnect.us .

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