New Yorkers supportive of gay marriage: poll

NEW YORK Tue Jun 23, 2009 12:09pm EDT

A man walks to City Hall holding a gay pride flag in San Francisco, California May 15, 2008. REUTERS/Kimberly White

A man walks to City Hall holding a gay pride flag in San Francisco, California May 15, 2008.

Credit: Reuters/Kimberly White

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NEW YORK (Reuters) - New York State voters have shifted their support for the first time to a slim majority backing a law to allow same-sex couples to marry, Quinnipiac University said in a poll released on Tuesday.

The poll found 51 percent of voters supported gay marriage versus 41 percent who opposed it, with 8 percent undecided.

The poll was released as a bill seeking to legalize gay marriage languishes in the State Senate due to a leadership battle between Democrats and Republicans.

New York's State Assembly passed the bill on May 12, and Governor David Paterson has vowed to sign it if it passes the Senate.

In May a Quinnipiac poll found voters split evenly at 46 percent, while in April 2004 voters opposed gay marriage by a 55 to 37 percent majority.

The release of the survey coincides with gay pride week marking the 40th anniversary of the Stonewall riots in New York City's Greenwich Village that triggered the modern U.S. gay rights movement. The annual march through Manhattan is set for Sunday.

Forty-two U.S. states explicitly prohibit gay marriage, including 29 with constitutional amendments, according to Human Rights Campaign, a gay rights advocacy group.

Gay couples can get married in Massachusetts, Connecticut and Iowa and will be allowed marry to in Vermont starting in September and New Hampshire in January. Some states provide for same-sex unions that grant many of the same rights as marriage.

(Reporting by Daniel Bases, editing by Vicki Allen)

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