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NEW YORK (RNS) Religious activists on both sides of the same-sex marriage debate vowed to continue their work after the New York State Senate rejected a gay marriage bill on Wednesday (Dec. 2).
The 34-28 vote, coming after debate in which state senators evoked various religious traditions and texts, was a blow for proponents of same-sex marriage. They had hoped a victory in New York would give them a needed boost following a defeat in Maine, where residents voted last month to repeal a bill that legalized same-sex marriage.
“The struggle for marriage equality in this country will continue and Integrity will continue to work for its passage, not only in New York but throughout the country,” Neil Houghton of the Episcopal gay advocacy group Integrity said following the New York Senate vote. “We will not give up hope in the darkness of defeat.”
Opponents of same-sex marriage, meanwhile, were buoyed by the move and said it confirmed their belief that public momentum is on their side.
“If you put this issue before the voters, the voters will reject it,” said Ruben Diaz, a New York state senator and an ordained Pentecostal minister from the Bronx who led opposition to the bill.
Bill Donohue, president of the New York-based Catholic League, praised Diaz and others for resisting “this illegitimate push to treat marriage and the family as if they were merely items on a moral smorgasbord of lifestyle choices.”
The defeat in New York came despite repeated support in New York’s State Assembly, and by New York Gov. David Paterson.
On Tuesday (Dec. 1), the District of Columbia City Council gave preliminary approval to a bill to legalize same-sex marriage in the nation’s capital. A second vote, tentatively scheduled for Dec. 15, will be required before Mayor Adrian Fenty can sign the bill. Congress would have 30 days to reject the measure, but most political observers say such a move is unlikely.
By Chris Herlinger
Copyright 2009 Religion News Service. All rights reserved. No part of this transmission may be distributed or reproduced without written permission.

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