A provision in New York's spending bill that sought to allow married gay and lesbian couples to file joint state tax returns was dropped Tuesday after Senator Ruben Diaz Sr. objected to its inclusion and threatened to vote against the measure.

Diaz became the face opposition in the Senate to last year's bill that would have legalized gay marriage in the Empire State. While the bill died in the Senate, New York is moving ahead in recognizing legal gay marriages performed outside its borders. Neighboring Connecticut, Vermont and Canada offer the institution.

The provision – introduced by openly gay New York Assemblyman Daniel O'Donnell in the Assembly – would have removed a barrier that forbids married gay couples from filing jointly because New York determines an individual's income tax filing status by his or her federal status. Federal agencies, including the IRS, are barred from recognizing a gay or lesbian couple's marriage due to the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), the Clinton-era law that defines marriage as a heterosexual union.

Diaz, a Pentecostal minister, told the New York Daily News that he was not “comfortable” with the legislation. Lawmakers removed the tax provision after Diaz threatened to vote with Republicans against the bill.