The New York State Senate decisively rejected a bill on Wednesday that would have allowed gay couples to wed, providing a major victory for those who oppose same-sex marriage and underscoring the deep and passionate divisions surrounding the issue.
The 38-to-24 vote startled proponents of the bill and signaled that political momentum, at least right now, had shifted against same-sex marriage, even in heavily Democratic New York. It followed more than a year of lobbying by gay rights organizations, who steered close to $1 million into New York legislative races to boost support for the measure.Since 2003, seven states, including three that border New York, have legalized same-sex marriage. But in two of the seven — California last year and Maine last month — statewide referendums have restricted marriage to straight couples, prohibiting gay nuptials. Pollsters say that while support generally is building for same-sex marriage, especially as the electorate ages, voters resist when they fear the issue is being pushed too fast.