The Democrats did not have enough votes to pass the bill without support from Republicans; however, no Republican senator voted for the measure. The bill was defeated by a margin of 38 to 24.
If the bill had passed, New York would have become the sixth state to legalize same-sex marriage. If it fails, it would mean that New York would become the latest state where critical progress towards gay rights had been made and then destroyed.
The State Assembly had already approved the bill twice before. However, New York's legislative code required the Assembly to pass the bill once more before it could be signed into law.
According to ChicagoPride.com, a similar bill is to receive votes in the District of Columbia and is expected to be approved before Christmas.
In New Jersey, gay activists seek to influence Governor-elect Chris Christie to approve a same-sex marriage bill.
Chances of success are fragile, however, because Christie supports a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage, while Governor Jon Corzine, who lost to Christie during the election, pledged to sign a gay marriage bill into law.