Gay marriage battle rages as N.Y. senators debate taxes and rent
Rabbi Sharon Kleinbaum joined protesters at New York's state capitol in favor of a bill to legalize same sex marriage on Monday.
June 21st, 2011
06:15 PM ET

Gay marriage battle rages as N.Y. senators debate taxes and rent

New York (CNN) - A day after state lawmakers were due to head home, a pair of controversial issues seem to stubbornly postpone their summer recess.

The first is something that many call a quintessential New York battle: Whether to enact the first statewide cap on property taxes. The cap is linked to the extension of rent control laws that apply to roughly 1 million apartments, most of them in New York City.

The second is the subject of national debate: Should New York become the sixth state in the union to adopt same-sex marriage laws?

Monday was technically the last official day of the legislative session, but the votes are still pending.

On Tuesday, Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos said lawmakers had reached a "framework for an agreement" on the rent and tax issues, but acknowledged that same-same sex marriage was not a part of those deliberations.

The Senate has struggled to bring to the floor a bill that would legalize the unions, but separate talks continued Tuesday, according to a spokesman for Skelos.

A vote on the measure, which the state Assembly passed Wednesday night, has been stalled in part by Republican concerns over protections for religious institutions against the potential for litigation in the wake of the proposed law.

Republicans, led by Skelos, have expressed concerns over the "unintended consequences" of a bill that redefines the legal parameters of marriage.

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Filed under: 360° Radar • 360º Follow • Gay & Lesbian Issues
May 5th, 2011
05:15 PM ET

Obama visits ground zero; honors 9/11 victims

New York (CNN) - Six picture frames hang inside a firehouse in Manhattan, each displaying a photograph of a man who died in the aftermath of the worst terrorist attack in U.S. history.

"We always say never forget," said one firefighter from New York's Engine 23.

He said President Barack Obama's visit to New York was an acknowledgement of "what we're going through."

"This is what New York is going through," said the man, who didn't want to share his name.

After nearly a decade of war prompted by the horrific events of September 11, 2001, Obama traveled to Manhattan Thursday to meet with 9/11 survivors and lay a wreath at ground zero, four days after the killing of al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden.

"I wanted to just come up here to thank you," Obama said in prepared remarks, after eating lunch with firefighters and former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani. "This is a symbolic site of the extraordinary sacrifice that was made on that terrible day almost 10 years ago."

The president visited with members of Fire Engine 54, Battalion Nine, which lost 15 men after al Qaeda hijackers flew two commercial airliners into the World Trade Center's twin towers.

"Obviously we can't bring back your friends that were lost," he said. "I know that each and every one of you not only grieve for them, but have also over the last 10 years dealt with their family."

The men of Engine 54 left behind 28 children, collectively.