Monday, November 9, 2009

New York activists, politicians gear up for possible marriage vote

As the prospects of a marriage vote in the New York State Senate continue to grow more possible, activists and even local politicians continue to urge lawmakers to pass the bill during tomorrow's special legislative session.

City Councilmember Christine Quinn joined hundreds of others who attended a candlelight vigil in Union Square earlier tonight. She later told those gathered at the Anti-Violence Project's Courage Awards at a Midtown hotel she had received assurances from state Sen. Tom Duane the bill's prospects continue to improve.

Meanwhile, Mayor Michael Bloomberg also urged legislators to vote on (and pass) the bill.

"The time has come for the State Senate to have an open debate on this issue--and to hold an up-or-down vote," he wrote in a letter to state Sen. Eric Adams [D-Brooklyn.] "That's democracy. And the citizens of New York deserve to know where our representatives stand on this important issue."

Opponents of marriage for same-sex couples also continue to urge lawmakers to oppose the bill. Brian Brown, executive director of the National Organization for Marriage, evoked former Congressional candidate Dede Scozzafava's failed campaign in his announcement his organization would build what he described as a $500,000 war chest to "fund a primary challenge to any Republican senator who votes for gay marriage."

"There is no Republican Senate district in New York where the majority of people support gay marriage. Maine has made that very clear,” Brown continued. "The GOP should learn from Dede Scozzafava's experience: voting for gay marriage does not pay."

It appears as though the bill does not have enough support to pass if the state Senate actually vote on it, but activists remain adamant and even (publicly) hopeful.

"All eyes are on Albany," Alan Van Capelle, executive director of the Empire State Pride Agenda, said. "With a true vote of conscience, senators can rectify inequality and injustice with a vote tomorrow."

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