New York senators are expected to take
up a long-anticipated gay marriage debate Wednesday, various news
outlets are reporting.
The Assembly approved the bill a third
time since 2007 late Tuesday in anticipation of today's debate.
Rumors that the bill would finally
reach the floor for debate in the Senate, where it faces its final
obstacle to passage, slowly surfaced on Tuesday. A spokesman for
state Senator Dale Volker assured a local NBC affiliate on Monday
that the bill could reach the Senate floor for a vote on Tuesday, but
the chamber adjourned without taking up the measure.
Empire State Pride Agenda, New York's
largest gay rights advocate, also twitted that it believed the Senate
would act on Wednesday. “Marriage WILL be voted on today in the
Senate!” the message said.
The bill's sponsor in the Senate,
Thomas Duane, a Democrat from Manhattan, told media outlets on
Wednesday that the measure would be approved, if only by a razor-thin
But passage is far from a foregone
conclusion. Democrats, who hold a slim two seat majority, are not
united on the issue. At least five members publicly oppose the
legislation. And a change of heart after Maine voters “vetoed” a
gay marriage law approved by lawmakers in the spring seems unlikely.
For passage, at least three Republicans
would need to cross the aisle to vote with Democrats. That also
seems unlikely considering no Republican senator publicly supports
gay marriage. Adding pressure to Republicans is the National
Organization for Marriage (NOM), the nation's most vociferous
opponent of gay marriage, which has threatened to unseat Republicans
that favor the bill.
The bill remains a priority for
Governor David Paterson, who is expected to quickly sign the bill if
Win or lose, gay activists say they
want a vote on the bill to put senators on record.
UPDATE: Debate on the issue began about