New York Assembly passes gay marriage bill

Gay pride and the American flags decorate the desks as Assemblyman Daniel J. O'Donnell is photographed in the Assembly room before the Assembly votes on the gay marriage bill, Wednesday, June 15, 2011 in Albany, N.Y. AP Photo

ALBANY, N.Y. — New York's Democrat-led Assembly has passed a bill to legalize gay marriage and a critical vote by the state Senate could take place this week if that chamber's Republican majority brings the measure to the floor.

Assemblyman Charles Lavine of Long Island said Wednesday he believes his chamber's approval of gay marriage means that somewhere America's founding fathers "have smiles on their faces."

But Assemblyman Dov Hikind of Brooklyn said gay marriage is wrong in the eyes of God.

Gay marriage is legal in Connecticut, Iowa, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Vermont and Washington, D.C. Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo has shepherded the bill in New York.

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Meanwhile, a federal judge on Tuesday upheld a gay judge's ruling that struck down California's same-sex marriage ban, saying his fellow jurist was under no obligation to disqualify himself simply because he was in a long-term relationship with another man.

In a 19-page decision responding to the first attempt in the nation to disqualify a judge because of his sexual orientation, Chief U.S. District Judge James Ware said former Chief Judge Vaughn Walker had no obligation to divulge whether he wanted to marry his same-sex partner before he declared last year that voter-approved Proposition 8 was unconstitutional.

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