Rush to to pass New York gay marriage bill

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a pink background.

Gay rights advocates in New York are hoping that a gay marriage bill can be passed by the Senate before a legislative session ends this evening.

Last week, the Assembly passed the bill by 80-63 votes.

Just one more vote is needed to pass the bill in the Senate. Thirty-one of the 62 senators have said they will back the legislation.

This weekend, rallies were held in the state for and against the issue.

Governor Andrew Cuomo said previously he would not introduce the bill until he was sure it would pass. A 2009 bill suffered a surprise defeat after support levels were over-estimated.

This bill does not offer protection to individuals who refuse to officiate or provide services to gay weddings. However, religious groups are not obliged to perform the ceremonies.

If the bill passes, it will come into law 30 days after the governor signs the legislation, making New York the sixth US state to allow gay couples to marry.

Massachusetts, Connecticut, Iowa, New Hampshire, Vermont and Washington DC currently have marriage equality. California’s ban is under review.