After a very long day of chaos, passion, and frustration in the New York State Senate, a couldn’t-be-higher stakes meeting that included the governor, senior Democratic lawmakers, and top LGBT advocates was capped by a dramatic announcement offering the best sign yet that marriage equality may become a reality by New Year’s Day.
With the Legislature unprepared to cooperate with Governor David A. Paterson in his push to adopt a budget reduction plan during the extraordinary session he called on November 10, the Senate Democratic leadership spent much of the day in on-and-off caucusing and huddling to answer the question that seemed uppermost on the minds of Albany-watchers Tuesday — whether to bring the marriage equality bill, passed for the second time by the Assembly in May, to the floor for debate and a vote.
Paterson had placed the measure on his calendar for the session, and many dozens of same-sex couples kept vigil all day long in the Capitol hallways outside the Majority Conference offices, chanting, “We deserve a vote, we deserve a vote.”
A vote was not to be — that day, at least. But shortly after 8 p.m., Paterson, four senior Senate Democrats — Jeffrey Klein of the Bronx and Westchester, the deputy majority leader; Eric Adams of Brooklyn; and Manhattanites Eric Schneiderman and Thomas K. Duane, the measure’s lead sponsor — and Alan Van Capelle, the executive director of the Empire State Pride Agenda (ESPA), the state’s LGBT lobby, appeared before the press to announce that the Senate leadership has made a specific commitment to hold a debate and vote on marriage equality before the end of 2009.
The implications cannot be underestimated. Since April, Paterson has consistently called for a vote, which ESPA on several occasions demanded and Duane said repeatedly he has the bipartisan support to pass.
Thursday, November 12, 2009
From the Gay City News comes this analysis.