1. SHOWDOWN

    New York to Vote on Gay Marriage

    Protesters take part in a demonstration supporting same-sex marriages outside Sheraton Hotel where U.S. President Barack Obama was attending a function in New York June 23, 2011. Obama on Thursday touted his efforts to advance gay rights and promised further progress, but stopped short of declaring his support for legalizing same-sex marriage. The state of New York is in discussions as to whether to legalise same-sex marriages.

    Andrew Kelly, Reuters / Landov

    After weeks of stalemate, New York’s GOP-controlled senate will finally vote on legalizing gay marriage, according to senate leader Dean Skelos. The state’s lower chamber has already approved the measure, and it has strenuous support from Governor Andrew Cuomo. The bill, however, had been held up by Republicans, who overwhelmingly oppose the measure. Thirty-one senators have expressed support for legalizing same-sex marriage, including two Republicans—just one vote short of what it needs to pass. The New York State Assembly on Friday night passed a religioius exemption to the marriage equality bill, which overrides one of the Senate Republicans' biggest objections to the bill.

    Read it at The New York Times