A Republican Senator who cast the key vote to legalise marriage equality in the state of New York has conceded that he has lost his re-election bid, and will not be returning to the Senate.

Stephen Saland, who, in June 2011, announced his support for equal marriage, was the 32nd senator to do so, and therefore tipped the balance in favour of legalising same-sex marriages, reports the Associated Press.

Senator Saland’s defeat means that three out of the four Republicans who cast votes to legalise marriage equality in June 2011 have not been re-elected to their positions.

A “great honour,” was how Senator Saland described his 20 years in the Legislature.

He represented the district in Putnam and Dutchess counties for over twenty years, and sponsored legislation combatting child abuse, and for schools.

When the senator voted for marriage equality in New York in 2011, after having previously voted against it in 2009, he said:

“I have defined doing the right thing as treating all persons with equality… And that equality includes the definition of marriage. I fear that to do otherwise would fly in the face of my upbringing,” reported Politico.

Back in July, New York celebrated one year of marriage equality. The marriage equality law came into action on July 24th 2011 and on the first day, 659 gay couples married.