Presidential hopeful, Hillary Clinton has disappointed the New York gay community by specifically leaving out any pledges on gay marriage in her call for equality for gay people.

Mrs Clinton, who is a New York Senator, was reacting to the judgement of the New York State Court of Appeals who ruled on Thursday that only a change in law would allow gay marriage and that banning gay marriage was therefore constitutional.

However, the wife of the former President, Bill Clinton, reiterated her support for civil unions for gay couples, similar to civil partnerships introduced in the UK in 2005.

“Senator Clinton supports full equality for people in committed relationships, including health insurance, life insurance and pensions, and hospital visitation and believes we have to keep working to reach those goals,” a spokesperson for Mrs Clinton said yesterday.

Matt Foreman, executive director of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force told the New York Times that Mrs Clinton’s views would disappoint some in the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and trasngendered community). “All of these rights are important, but full equality means marriage equality, period.”

Alan Van Capelle, a New York gay rights said: “I am glad Senator Clinton supports specific benefits for people in committed relationships, and one day I hope she will stand with Eliot Spitzer, Alan Hevesi, Dennis Rivera and hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers who are working to make sure gay and lesbian people have the freedom to marry.”

Mrs Clinton support the Defence of Marriage Act, enacted by her husband that maintains that marriages must be between partners of the opposite sex.

She does however, oppose moves to create a constitutional amendment that permanently rules out gay marriage.