The New York state Senate rejected a bill Wednesday that
would have legalized same-sex marriage.
In a 38-24 vote, lawmakers struck down a gay marriage bill
that had been pushed by Gov. David Patterson. No Republicans supported the measure. But even with a one-seat majority, Democrats still did not have enough
votes to pass the measure.
Democratic state Sen. Rubén Díaz Sr., a Pentecostal pastor
in the Bronx, has been a strident opponent of the gay marriage bill, arguing
that marriage should be the union of one man and one woman. In May, he participated
in a rally protesting Patterson’s moves to push gay marriage. The event
reportedly drew some 10,000 people.
“Not only the evangelicals, not only the Jews, not only the
Muslims, not only the Catholics, but also the people oppose it,” Díaz said before
Wednesday’s vote, the New York Times reported.
Five states have legalized gay marriage, all of them through
legislation or court ruling.
The New York State Assembly approved the gay marriage
legislation shortly after midnight on Wednesday, the Times reported, and
Patterson had said he would immediately sign the measure if it made it to his
Voters in Maine and California repealed their states’ gay
marriage laws through referendum. But New York does not have a referendum
process that allows voters to overturn an act of the Legislature. All 31 states
that have voted on the issue have banned gay marriage.
Díaz told Charisma in May that he would block moves
to legalize gay marriage in his state even if the bill were reintroduced every
year. “I’m a preacher. I’m not only a state senator,” he said.
“I would not vote for that.”
The vote was an answer to prayer, said Tom Stiles, director
of church relations for New Yorkers Family Research Foundation, which is
affiliated with New Yorkers for Constitutional Freedom, a group that lobbied
against the bill.
“We’re very thankful,” Stiles said. “This is not about
hating anybody. It’s about preserving marriage as we know it.”
He said the traditional marriage supporters would have to
fight the same battle next year, when Democrats who opposed the measure will
likely face a tough re-election battle.
“They’re looking at the elections, and they’ll target the
Democratic senators who voted against the bill,” Stiles said of gay marriage
supporters. “Christians need to be praying for those men and women.”