The Democrat-controlled New York
Assembly on Wednesday approved a gay marriage bill.
Governor Andrew Cuomo, who officially
introduced the measure on Tuesday, issued a “message of necessity,”
which allows lawmakers to forgo the usual three-day waiting period
required to allow public review of the bill.
Democratic leaders in the Assembly
quickly seized the opportunity, approving the measure for the fourth
time since 2007 with an 80-63 vote.
While passage in the Assembly was a
nearly foregone conclusion, the 95-member Democratic caucus was not
united on the issue.
“What we are doing today is not
right,” said Assemblywoman Nancy Calhoun, a Republican. “We are
changing the institution of marriage … this is a day I will
remember as a day when the state of New York and its constitution
lost something, and I'm very sorry that is about to happen.”
Openly gay Assemblyman Daniel
O'Donnell, the bill's sponsor in the Assembly, challenged lawmakers
who invoked religious principle in arguing against the measure,
including Dov Hikind, a Democrat from Brooklyn, who waved a copy of
the Hebrew Bible and said, “You want to tell God he doesn't know
what he's talking about?”
“If you want to believe in a book and
that God tells you what to think, knock yourself out. But do not
throw that book in my face,” O'Donnell said.
In a statement released after the vote,
O'Donnell added: “This issue remains profoundly important to me;
it is not just a professional goal, but a personal mission. My
partner John and I have been together for over 30 years, and we have
awaited the ability to marry in our home state for many of them.
Today, for the fourth time, the Assembly declared that now is the
The measure now heads to the Senate,
where support since Tuesday's introduction has grown by 5 votes,
leaving proponents just 1 vote shy of a victory.
Meanwhile, undecided GOP senators in
the Senate briefly swelled to 5, when Senators Mark Grisanti and
Andrew Lanza joined Kemp Hannon, Stephen Saland and Greg Ball in the
undecided column. Grisanti, however, as recently as last month
adamantly declared his opposition to the measure, and later in the
day Ball signaled he would vote against the bill when he said he did
not believe the proposed legislation went far enough in protecting