Updated 11/11/2009 12:34 PM
State Senate Agrees To Vote On Marriage Equality Bill
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Governor David Paterson announced Tuesday that the State Senate has agreed to put same-sex marriage legislation to a vote before the end of the year.
The governor has scheduled two more special sessions of the legislature for Monday and Tuesday and says he will keep putting the bill on the agenda until lawmakers vote on it.
The State Assembly has already passed a similar measure.
"We're talking about the denial of opportunity and this country that certain people have experience -- some of them for all of their lives. Some of them may not live long enough to see this measure pass. And I am sorry that will be the case. But for all of those who will have that opportunity, they'll know that vote is coming," Paterson said.
Same-sex marriage advocates protested Tuesday outside the senate chambers where lawmakers were called to talk about closing the budget gap.
At one point, advocates went head to head Tuesday with Senator Ruben Diaz Sr., who has been a strong opponent of the bill.
"If you want to be a reverend then go back to the church, if you want to be a senator then you stand up for the rights and laws of this country," said Cathy Marino-Thomas of the New York Marriage Equality Board.
"The people of the nation have rejected gay marriage in California, now in Maine, and the 23rd Congressional District, they rejected that," Diaz said.
Meanwhile, lawmakers failed to reach a deal Tuesday on the state's budget.
Sticking points include cuts to health care and education.
Governor David Paterson told lawmakers on Monday that he is willing to put his political neck on the line for controversial cuts to help close the state budget gap, which could be as large as $4 billion.
Some lawmakers are concerned cuts to health care could end up costing the state federal matching funds.