The New York State Assembly has passed a bill to legalise same-sex marriage in the state. After a four hour debate the bill passed with an 89-52 vote. The vote shows that support is growing for same-sex marriage, as four Assembly members flipped their previous 2007 “no” vote on the bill.

Five Republicans ignored threats from their party to “strip any politician who votes for same-sex marriage of its affiliation with the party and its ballot line” and voted in favour of gay marriage in New York.

“They are asking only for equal protection under the law,” Janet L. Duprey, a Republican, told the Times. “They deserve no less than to have the same rights and ability to share their love.”

However the bill will now go through a Senate vote, where there are fears that not enough votes will allow the legislation to be approved. Governor David Paterson, who has the final signing power if the bill is passed, has clearly signalled that he supports the bill and will sign it.

Senate Majority Leader Malcolm Smith, a Queens Democrat, said this week he won’t bring the issue to the Senate floor until the 32 votes are secured.

Maine, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Iowa, and Vermont are the only American state to currently recognise gay marriage.

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