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Antigay N.Y. State Senator Expelled

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The New York state senate voted to expel Hiram Monserrate on Tuesday night, citing his misdemeanor conviction in an assault on his girlfriend. The Queens lawmaker was one of eight Democrats who voted against the marriage equality bill that failed in December.

Senators voted 53 to 8, with one abstention, to remove Monserrate effective immediately after agonizing discussion, according to the New YorkDaily News.

"The dramatic vote came after hours of impassioned closed-door debate -- the only question seemed to be just when Monserrate would be expelled," reports the Daily News.

Monserrate is the first state lawmaker to be expelled in over a century. He has vowed to mount a legal challenge to the ouster, and said he would run to reclaim the seat in the special election to be held within 30 to 45 days to fill the vacancy.

"Monserrate supporters expressed concern about the precedent of making him the first senator ever booted because of a misdemeanor conviction," reports the Daily News. "They claim his expulsion is payback for his brief role in a GOP-leadership coup that shut down the senate for a month last year. A former city cop and city councilman, Monserrate was elected to the Senate in 2007. Between his election and swearing in to office, he was charged with slashing his girlfriend's face with a broken glass and then forcibly pulling her down a hall on the way to the hospital."

The removal of Monserrate brings the Democrats' already tenuous senate majority to 31-30.

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