Updated 06/14/2011 11:38 PM
Republican Senator Throws Support Behind Gay Marriage Bill
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Same-sex marriage is one vote away from passage in the State Senate, as a Republican senator broke ranks Tuesday to support the measure.
State Senator Roy McDonald of Saratoga said he will vote "yes" when the legislation is expected to come before the chamber later this week.
“Everybody’s different. Try to get along, try to do the right thing. It’s a difficult vote but I think it’s the appropriate thing to do,” said McDonald.
In addition, NY1 has learned Republican Senator Mark Grisanti from Buffalo is switching his vote from "no" to "undecided."
By late Tuesday, the tally was 31 votes in favor of marriage equality, 28 opposed and three undecided.
Besides Grisanti, the other two undecided Republican senators were Greg Ball and Steve Saland.
Governor Andrew Cuomo introduced his gay marriage bill Tuesday and insisted the votes are there to pass the measure, which cannot be voted on until Friday or unless the governor sends down a special message of necessity.
Every Senate Democrat supports the bill except Bronx Senator Ruben Diaz Sr.
Staten Island Senator Andrew Lanza, a Republican, said on Tuesday while he currently opposes the bill, he could change his mind.
“This is the first time I find myself in the position where I am struggling with respect to ascertaining what the right thing to do here is,” said Lanza.
Advocates for marriage equality used some star power as they continued a final push for legalization. "Sex And The City" star Cynthia Nixon was in Albany to lobby wavering lawmakers.
Meanwhile, in Downtown Manhattan, supporters and opponents of same-sex marriage held competing rallies Tuesday.
Those in favor gathered in City Hall Park, while opponents were just a short distance away on the steps of City Hall.
"As a Christian pastor, and as an African-American woman whose marriage would have been seen as illegal and immoral in this country 45 years ago, I'm absolutely on the side of marriage equality," said a supporter of same-sex marriage. "I believe it's not only a political and expedient thing to do, but it's a moral thing to do."
However, a lesbian woman who was raised by two mothers joined the protest against same-sex marriage, saying she grew up confused.
"I love my mother, but it just.... Me even being in a lesbian relationship with my partner who wanted to adopt my son as her own, I didn't want that for my own kid because I knew what it was like for me growing up," she said.
The measure is widely expected to easily pass the State Assembly, as similar legislation passed there three previous times.
While the passage of same sex marriage will be a historic move for the state if it passes, many Democratic lawmakers were trying to shift the focus to rent. With the laws set to expire Wednesday night, protests ramped up in the Capitol.
Senate Republicans introduced three bills Monday night that would extend the laws without strengthening them, and link the bill to a measure that would provide housing developers a tax credit.
“We’re winding down session, so we need to get a resolution to these issues, to extend rent regulation and to get 421A passed, because that is a huge boost to the economy, and get these issues put to bed,” said Senate Housing Committee Chairwoman Catharine Young.
Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver said the bills are a non-starter.
“Clearly they aren’t hearing anything if they can introduce of the variety of bills that they’ve introduced. It’s not anywhere near what we’ve been talking about,” said Silver.
If there is no agreement by the Wednesday night deadline, Silver said the governor should send down an emergency rent law extender to the Legislature.