Tuesday, June 9, 2009

New York Senate's New President Wants Vote on Marriage Equality

With yesterday's drama in the New York Senate, the fate of the Gov. David Paterson's marriage equality bill came into question, some calling it all but dead. However, a glimmer of hope came from the new senate president, Sen. Espada Jr. this morning.

The New York Times reports:
Pedro Espada Jr., the new State Senate president, said in a radio interview on Tuesday morning that he personally wanted to bring same-sex marriage to a vote, news that will give some encouragement to gay activists who read defeat into Monday’s Republican Senate coup.
“I am for same-sex marriage,” Mr. Espada said. “There will be no guarantees and no quid pro quos, I think there will be a vote of conscience of the senators. And with my partner in government, Senator Skelos, we have not discussed bringing it out to the floor. I’m expressing my own personal desire to see a full debate and decision on this matter.”

The Senate majority leader, Dean G. Skelos, a Long Island Republican who is sharing power with Mr. Espada under the new leadership arrangement, said he and Mr. Espada would discuss the issue of same-sex marriage and other matters later on Tuesday.

The Empire State Pride Agenda, a gay rights organization, called for a Senate vote on the same-sex marriage bill — which the Assembly has already passed — before the end of the legislative session, notwithstanding the change in party control.
Stranger things have happened. Though the last survey of the New York senators didn't leave much hope for the bill's passage, Sen. Duane, sponsor of the bill, proudly declared he had the 32 votes needed.

If yesterday's upheaval, spurred by frustration of little legislative work being done in the senate, actually helps get the bill to the floor for a vote, then time will only tell. If it passes, wouldn't it be ironic if what we first thought was the death of the bill became its life?

As Queers United said, "If republicans are the ones to bring this bill to a vote and pass marriage equality this will signal an entirely new shift in politics.

"Urge [New York Senate] President Skelos to bring the bill for a vote before the session ends and to vote in favor of marriage equality!"

E-contact form for President Dean Skelos

Albany Office
Room 907 LOB
Albany, NY 12247
Phone: (518) 455-3171

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