New York Governor David Paterson
announced Tuesday that Senate leaders have agreed to vote on a
contentious gay marriage bill before the end of the year, the New
York Daily News reported.
“This is the first time that the
Senate leadership has indicated that it will support a vote on
marriage equality,” the governor said during a press conference.
Paterson called the news “stunning”
and a “very happy development in this process.”
The governor made his announcement
immediately following a meeting attended by Democratic Senate
leaders, leading gay rights advocates, and various senators,
including Tom Duane, the bill's sponsor in the Senate.
Alan Van Capelle, executive director of
Empire State Pride Agenda, the state's leading gay rights advocate,
said he was “very happy” with the agreement.
Paterson had 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.
But lawmakers have resisted acting on the bill, saying closing a $3
billion budget gap was a more pressing matter. While the governor
controls the agenda during such sessions, he cannot force senators to
Prominent elected officials from
Paterson to New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and New York City
Council Speaker Christine Quinn have urged senators to approve the
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 on
Monday. She urged lawmakers to “stand up and say that everybody's
Democrats hold a slim 32-to-30 majority
in the Senate, but at least 5 of their members remain either opposed
or undecided on gay marriage. And no Republican senator has publicly
endorsed the bill.
Whether the measure passes or fails,
gay marriage advocates say they want a vote to put senators on