Monday marked the last official day of Albany’s legislative season Senate leaders have extended the session – giving the marriage equality bill another chance to come to a vote.
The bill stands only 32 votes in the Senate away from becoming law.
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Governor Andrew Cuomo released a statement yesterday asking New Yorkers to contact their senator and urge them to vote yes on marriage equality.
“With Albany’s legislative session coming to a close this week, the time for progress is now,” said Cuomo. “With this historic legislation, we can ensure that same-sex couples in New York are finally given the rights and protections they deserve.”
Last week, the mayor visited Albany to urge the Senate to pass the historic bill.
“Throughout our history, each and every generation has expanded upon the freedoms won by their parents and grandparents. Each and every generation has removed some of the barriers to full participation in the American dream. And the next great barrier standing before our generation is the prohibition on marriage for same-sex couples,” Mayor Michael Bloomberg said after speaking with Senate Republicans at a GOP conference meeting.
This is the fourth time that a marriage equality bill has passed in the Assembly only to see it fail in the Senate on the three previous occasions. It was passed in the Assembly, 80-63, with support on both sides of the aisle.
The bill needs 32 votes to pass in the Senate. There are currently 31 senators that support it, according to media reports. There has been no decision by the Senate yet if or when the vote may take the floor.
“We need the Senate to make the right choice and pass this measure to make marriage equality a reality, and allow New York State to once again take its place as a national leader in civil rights and social justice,” said Assemblymember Francisco Moya.
Bloomberg said that he has spoken with several Republican Senators over the past weeks to discuss the issue.
“This is not an easy issue – and I understand there’s a lot of pressure on Senators from different sides, and a lot of concern about what their constituents will think,” he said.
Cuomo has also been meeting with Senators in hopes of getting the final vote needed.
The legislation that was introduced by Cuomo earlier last week, would give same-sex couples the ability to legally wed as well as the same rights as married couples of the opposite sex in New York State. Right now, those couples cannot marry within the state, but New York recognizes marriages performed elsewhere.
The bill also provides religious institutions freedom to choose who they marry and could not compel them into wedding same-sex couples.
Twelve Queens Assemblymembers – Grace Meng, David Weprin, Rory Lancman, Ed Braunstein, Andrew Hevesi, Michele Titus, Vivian Cook, Michael DenDekker, Jeffrion Aubry, Aravella Simotas, Cathy Nolan and Francisco Moya – voted for the bill. Assemblymembers Barbara Clark and Mike Miller voted against it.
If passed, New York would become the sixth and largest state to allow gay marriage.