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Monserrate Silent On Gay Marriage Bill

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With the fate of the legislation legalizing gay marriage still uncertain, a number of lawmakers, including Queens State Senator Hiram Monserrate, have yet to state their position on the issue. NY1's Vivian Lee filed the following report on voters' reactions in Monserrate's district.

Many New Yorkers have strong opinions about gay marriage, but State Senator Hiram Monserrate remains silent on whether he is for or against Governor David Paterson's gay marriage bill. That has some of Monserrate's constituents in East Elmhurst, Queens questioning his leadership.

"I believe that as a leader, he needs to represent," said one local who opposes gay marriage. "If you can't make a decision, I can't follow."

"I think he should make a decision, and he should be for gay marriage," said another local.

While Monserrate is waiting to take a position, other legislators are making their positions known and showing that Paterson's gay marriage bill is in jeopardy.

A NY1 survey of the 62 state senators shows a plurality say they would vote against the legislation.

Some wonder if the state senator is preoccupied with other legal matters, as he is fighting charges that he assaulted his girlfriend Karla Giraldo with a broken glass earlier this year.

"I know why he does not state his position, because of what happened with his personal life," said a local.

"I'm sure he has other issues he's worried about personally, but professionally he should support passing the bill," said another.

"That's not good. He's of Latino heritage. We are emotional about every issue that we believe in. He's thinking about it too much," said a third.

On Wednesday, New Hampshire became the sixth state to legalize same-sex marriage. The other five states are Massachusetts, Connecticut, Maine, Vermont and Iowa.

The state's legislative session ends later this month, and Senate Majority Leader Malcolm Smith previously said that he would not bring the same-sex marriage bill before the State Senate unless he feels there are at least 32 votes in favor of the bill.

The measure passed on May 12 in the State Assembly.

Monserrate declined to comment on the story.

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