The New York Senate has delayed a vote
on a gay marriage bill, the New York Times reported.
If and when senators will vote on the
bill remains a contentious issue between gay rights activists who've
lobbied all year in favor of the bill and lawmakers who continue to
put off a vote. Senators said Tuesday closing a $3 billion budget
gap was a more pressing matter.
Yet, lawmakers adjourned without a
resolution on either.
Advocates have relentlessly pressed for
a vote, calling the budget an “excuse” not to act on the
“Of course, budget matters are
important,” Alan Van Capelle, executive director of Empire State
Pride Agenda, the state's largest gay advocate, said in a statement.
“But the reality is that there have always been budget problems in
Albany and probably always will be.”
“It is time for the New York state
Senate to take up the issue of marriage equality. Millions of gay
and lesbian New Yorkers and their friends and families expect and
deserve a vote on this matter in the state Senate,” he added.
New York Governor David Paterson has
asked lawmakers in the Senate, where the bill faces its final
obstacle to becoming law, to vote on the bill during an extraordinary
session that opened Tuesday. Paterson placed the gay marriage bill
on the agenda but he cannot force lawmakers to act on it.
On Monday, New York Mayor Michael
Bloomberg and City Council Speaker Christine Quinn urged senators to
approve the gay marriage bill.
Quinn, who is openly lesbian and
engaged to marry her partner if the law is approved, became emotional
when asked about the bill during a news conference at City Hall. She
urged lawmakers to “stand up and say that everybody's family
matters.” Bloomberg, a former Republican turned Independent, wrote
to lawmakers, saying the bill “advances the fundamental democratic
idea that government should treat all people equally and that all
persons stand equal before the law.”
Lawmakers, however, might continue to
resist such calls after several gay rights
losses on Election Day. Maine voters easily repealed a gay
marriage law approved by lawmakers in the spring. Voters in New
Jersey ousted Governor Jon Corzine who had promised to sign a gay
marriage bill into law if reelected.
In New York, gay marriage opponents
pressured a moderate Republican who voted in favor of gay marriage to
drop her bid for New York's 23rd Congressional District.
The National Organization for Marriage (NOM), the nation's most
vociferous opponent of gay marriage, took credit when support among
Republicans for Dede Scozzafava collapsed. NOM President Maggie
Gallager crowed about her group's opposition to Scozzafava in blog
posts published at the National Review's website. Gallagher
said the group sent out 160,000 pieces of mail and made more than
250,000 robocalls to voters in the district informing them on
Scozzafava's position on gay marriage.
And NOM has promised similar
retribution to any Republican in New York who does not toe the
Republican support is clearly needed
for the measure to pass, as
several Democratic senators have publicly stated their opposition to
the bill. No Republican senator publicly supports gay marriage.
Whether the measure passes or fails,
gay marriage advocates say they want a vote to put senators on