Long Island Senator Opposes Gay Marriage

With the New York State Senate expected to vote on a same-sex marriage bill this week, Kenneth P. LaValle, who represents eastern Long Island, remains opposed to the measure in any form.

Mr. LaValle's spokesman, Drew Biondo, said Tuesday that the Senator would cast a vote against the bill if it came up. According to Mr. Biondo, the senator favors civil unions and is opposed on philosophical grounds to lifting the state ban on gay marriages.

Mr. LaValle, a Republican who has won re-election numerous times with Conservative and Independence endorsement, was not likely to support a bill even if it provided exemptions for adoption agencies and religious organizations opposed to gay marriage, Mr. Biondo said. Some legislators have suggested that exemptions be included to protect institutions and the Catholic Church from discrimination lawsuits.

Advocates of a bill that would allow gender-blind weddings say passage is likely. According to the Albany Times Union, all but one of the State Senate Democrats support the concept, though the specific language of the measure has not been released. For a bill to be approved, it would need at least two Republican votes, a threshold Mr. Biondo thought would be passed this week.

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo is a strong backer of the movement toward allowing same-sex marriage, and his signature on a bill that emerges from the State Legislature is all but assured. Five states give same-sex couples the right to marry -- Connecticut, New Hampshire, Iowa, Massachusetts, and Vermont. Gay couples can also get marriage licenses in the District of Columbia.

A same-sex marriage bill failed in the Senate in 2009, 38-24; a companion bill has been approved in the Assembly three times.