The fate of gay marriage in New York state rests solely upon two undecided Republican Senators after a Democrat-led Assembly approved a measure that would bring marriage equality to the state last night.
To be fair, it was the third time Democrats in the House have rallied up a successful vote for same-sex marriage. Here’s hoping that this time Republicans do the right thing and achieve the same victory in the Senate.
An unofficial head count leaves the issue at a 31-31 tie in the Senate, where Republicans have a 32-30 majority. Republican Sen. Roy McDonald of Saratoga and Rensselaer counties and James Alesi of Monroe County said this week they would support gay marriage, after voting against it in 2009.
Twenty-nine of 30 Democratic senators also committed to the measure and at least two Republican senators — Stephen Saland of Poughkeepsie and Mark Grisanti of Erie and Niagara counties — say they are undecided.
A tie in the 62-seat Senate would be a defeat, and some advocates, including Cuomo, have said they don’t want the measure brought to the floor only to see it lose again. Democrats, however, could test the power of the lieutenant governor, Robert Duffy of Rochester, to break a tie. But that rule is vague, saying it can only be used for “procedural” votes, and would likely be challenged in the courts.
Veteran GOP Sen. Hugh Farley of Schenectady County opposes gay marriage but says the caucus meeting is open to senators supporting the bill.
“I have to do what I think is right, and they have to do what they think is right,” Farley said after the unusually lengthy caucus Wednesday.
“It’s going to be a tight one, it’s going to be close,” said the Rev. Duane Motley, a leader of a conservative Christian group, New Yorkers for Constitutional Freedoms, lobbying against same-sex marriage.
The current legislative session ends this Monday, so the pressure is on like Boom Badoom Boom, Bass.
Cross your fingers, call your family and friends in New York and ask them to puh-leeze call their Senators and voice their support for gay marriage. We could be days away from making history!