New York Gov. David Paterson has called state legislators to Albany Tuesday to vote on legalizing same-sex marriage in the state. The State Senate needs 32 votes for approval because the Assembly already passed the bill earlier this year.
Only three state legislatures nationwide passed the same-sex marriage bill without court intervention. Advocates of both sides of the issue lobbied this weekend, both with varying opinions on the outcome.
“The stakes are much higher now, following Maine, and it would be an enormous boost to the movement to prevail in New York,” Matt Foreman, gay rights advocate who has served as head of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force and Empire State Agenda, told The New York Times.
However, Foreman added, “If we don’t win marriage in New York in this special session, it’s going to be a very hard lift next year.”
The State Senate has a 32 to 30 Democrat majority. Supporters of the bill say now might be the most ideal time to try to pass same-sex marriage because all 212 legislature members face re-election next year.
None of the 30 Republican members have publicly committed to voting on the bill. Supporters say they need Republican votes to pass the same-sex marriage law.
“I think we’re starting from a position of strength,” Jason McGuire, executive director of New Yorkers for Constitutional Freedoms, told The New York Times. “I don’t believe they have the votes, and it’s an act of desperation. Our position is to maintain the votes we have, and people are certainly in contact with our senators and we are encouraging that. This is not going to pass.”
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— Kim Brown