The lower house in New York's assembly was expected Tuesday to back a proposed law on allowing gay marriage in the state, but a tougher battles lies ahead in the upper house.
Governor David Paterson introduced the legislation last month in a bid to make the state the sixth and by far the highest profile allowing same-sex couples to wed.
The same bill being debated Tuesday passed with the lower house in 2007, but failed in the then-Republican led Senate. Democrats now have a slim majority there, but observers say that may still not be enough.
The lower house vote comes a week after Maine became the fifth state allowing gay marriage. That pushed forward a wave of momentum in the traditionally liberal north-east of the country.
However, the issue remains deeply controversial, with the most bitter dispute taking place in California, where voters in November voted to change the constitution and overturn a state supreme court ruling that had legalized gay marriage.
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