Gay Marriage Vote May Fade On Numbers
Despite a possible lack of votes, Governor David Paterson is claiming history will be made sometime this year when the State Senate considers legalizing same sex marriage. NY1's Josh Robin filed the following report.
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Reluctantly, gay rights leaders are moving the goalposts of their generation's most critical struggle. They were once confident that this year New York would legalize same sex marriage. Their promise now is simply to see the equality bill at last introduced in the State Senate.
"Some of them unfortunately, may not live long enough to see this measure pass, and I'm sorry that that will be the case, but for all those who will have that opportunity, at least they'll know that that vote is coming," Paterson said.
The vote is said to be coming before the end of the year, although bridging the state's deficit is the top priority, so no one can say when.
While the vote is all but guaranteed, the bill's passage is anything but. A NY1 tally of lawmakers shows support for same sex marriage is not even half way there.
Of 62 senators, 21 are supportive. The remaining 41 are opposed, wouldn't say, or couldn't be reached Wednesday, a state holiday.
Proponents admit some of the 30 Republicans will be needed. A spokesman for the GOP conference says none are publicly supportive.
Opponents like New Yorkers for Constitutional Freedoms Executive Director Jason McGuire say they have reason to be concerned at the polls, referencing a socially moderate Republican pushed out by a conservative in a recent congressional contest upstate.
"No senator wants to be the next Dede Scozzafava and lose their seat because of the issue of marriage," McGuire said.
On the other side, there's political heft for supporters facing a tough vote. Generous campaign contributions from gay rights supporters helped return Democrats to senate power for the first time in more than four decades.
"We look forward to finally seeing a day, when same sex couples can have the 1324 rights and responsibilities that come with the marriage license," said Alan Van Capelle of the Empire State Pride Agenda.
Committed to same sex marriage, and eager for accomplishments to run on next year, Paterson is now calling the simple promise of a bill introduction a victory, even if it fails to become law.