The first time marriage equality got a vote in the New York State Senate, in December 2009, it was defeated 38-24. The tally of public supporters now stands at 26 –– all Democrats –– out of the 32 needed for passage. All six Democrats first elected to the Senate in 2010 support the measure.
(The chart above is available in PDF form).
According to statements on the record (to Gay City News and/ or other media), two Democrats who previously voted no –– Joe Addabbo and Shirley Huntley of Queens –– and three Republicans in the same category –– James Alesi of Fairport, Greg Ball of Brewster, and Joseph Griffo of Utica –– are currently taking no public position on the marriage bill.
Griffo’s undeclared status first became known in an April 26 email message to Gay City News from his office.
Rayan Aguam, the senator’s director of communications & community relations, wrote, “Senator Griffo won't comment until it's clear which bill will come before the Senate for a vote. He wants to see all the details of the legislative proposal laid out before him before he makes his decision. It wouldn't surprise anyone if Senator Duane's current bill is amended or if another bill is substituted.”
The position of freshman Republican Jack Martins of Garden City is not fully clear from the public record, and he did not respond to Gay City News’ request for comment.
Republican Majority Leader Dean Skelos of Rockville Centre remains opposed to the bill, but a spokesman for him said he “expects” the issue to be brought before the Republican conference “in the coming weeks” to determine whether it will get a floor debate and vote, as Governor Andrew Cuomo is urging. Skelos, on several occasions, has said he believes his conference will support sending the measure to the full Senate.
Most Republicans who voted no in 2009 did not respond to Gay City News’ request for comment this week; those who did are noted in the chart above.
The State Assembly has approved marriage equality on three occasions since 2007.
Advocates –– from groups including the Empire State Pride Agenda, the Human Rights Campaign, Marriage Equality New York, the Log Cabin Republicans, Freedom to Marry, and Queer Rising –– will target those senators who are undecided or have not yet announced a position this year at ESPA’s annual Equality & Justice Day lobbying push in Albany. That gathering is scheduled for Monday, May 9.