Three Democratic senators in New York who previously voted against legalizing same-sex marriage have now said they will vote in favor of passing a marriage equality bill. Crucially, two Republican Senators have also said that, should the measure reach the Senate floor, they will also vote in favor.
The three senators — Joseph P. Addabbo Jr. (pictured) and Shirley L. Huntley of Queens and Carl Kruger of Brooklyn — all voted against the measure in 2009, when it failed by a wide margin. Their switch to the yes column leaves all but one Senate Democrat supporting same-sex marriage — and the fate of the legislation in the hands of the Republican majority in the chamber.
Three Republican senators will now have to vote for same-sex marriage if the measure is to pass in the 62-member chamber. The lone Democrat now opposing the measure, Rubén Díaz Sr., is the Senate’s most vocal opponent of same-sex marriage and is not considered swayable under any circumstances.
Republican Senator James Alesi, R-Perinton, has gone on record saying that he will break with Republican colleagues to support the measure because he believes it to be a civil rights issue.
“I believe that if you live in America and if you expect equality and freedom for yourself, that you have to extend it to other people,” Alesi told reporters Monday after he met behind closed doors with Gov. Andrew Cuomo.
Similarly, Roy J. McDonald. (R, C, IP) has indicated that he would also support a marriage equality bill should it reach the floor. Read more on that here.
This means that, together with 29 Democrats supporting the bill, there are now 31 votes out of the 32 needed to pass, and indications are more votes may be within reach.
The Wall Street Journal quotes one nameless Republican senator as saying that the bill is “too close to fail,” and says the senator predicted there may be as many as four or five Republicans who would vote for the bill.
The WSJ also quotes a Republican spokesperson saying they would “conference” the issue on Tuesday or Wednesday.
The just released marriage equality bill must pass before the end of the legislative session on June 20. Thursday is being tentatively mentioned as the day when a vote might happen, but no formal commitment to a vote has been made by the Republican majority and so, while these are positive signs, it would be incorrect to call this a done deal.
For previous coverage of efforts to legalize marriage equality in New York, please click here.