Friday, September 4, 2009

NY Governor Paterson Intends to Resubmit Marriage Equality Bill to State Legislature

Both New York Governor David Paterson and openly gay state Sen. Tom Duane expect a vote on the state's marriage equality bill by the end of September.

The bill has faced major obstacles since being introduced earlier this year. After passing the state Assembly, the Senate experienced a power coup which played out past several emergency special sessions in an effort to organize the senators in order to get pressing state work accomplished. Unfortunately, the marriage equality bill was pushed aside.

Now with New York's budget woes forcing the Senate to convene another special session, the governor intends to yet again put the marriage equality bill back on the agenda.

In an interview with the Advocate, Paterson said, "I am anticipating a special session and I am anticipating this is one of the issues that we will address."

"Normally I wouldn't do it this way,” he said regarding adding the marriage equality bill to a special session agenda. “But I felt that the whole fight over the coup denied the people of New York resolution on a number of issues that were very controversial and had been discussed and advocated for. I think that we owe the public a proper disposition on those pieces of legislation, and one of those was marriage equality."

Sen. Duane told the Washington Blade that he doesn't expect the bill to be on the agenda when they first convene but that a vote will occur by the end of September.

Duane said he hopes supporters of same-sex marriage will be "popping up the advocacy" to encourage senators to vote for the bill, adding that he strongly believes it will pass if lawmakers are allowed to vote their conscience.

"I remain optimistic that it'll pass this year and it'll pass with bipartisan support," he said.

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