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Schumer backs gay marriage

By Jason Fink

Sen. Charles Schumer said Monday he supports same-sex marriage and called for a repeal of the federal ban.

It was a reversal for Schumer (D-N.Y.), who as a congressman in 1996 voted in favor of the Defense of Marriage Act.

“It’s time,” Schumer said in a statement. “Equality is something that has always been at the hallmark of America and no group should be deprived of it.”Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) and Democratic Gov. David Paterson also back gay marriage, as does Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

Schumer did not say if he would introduce legislation to overturn the ban.

He revealed the change in his position to gay rights advocates Sunday night following a meeting in Manhattan.

“We look forward to working with him to win marriage equality in New York state and around the country,” said Alan Van Capelle, executive director of Empire State Pride Agenda.

With Democrats controlling in Albany, supporters have expressed hope that the state would legalize gay marriage but no bill has been introduced and many political observers say there are not enough votes in the state Senate.

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