New York Gov. Paterson Calls for Vote on Marriage Equality
April 9, 2009 by Bryan
New York Gov. David Paterson wants the state Senate to vote on gay marriage, even if there currently are not enough votes to pass marriage equality legislation – a position that puts him at odds with his own party’s leadership.
Legislation that would allow same-sex couples to marry in New York State passed the Assembly in 2007, but the Senate, controlled by the GOP at the time, refused to take up the bill.
Democrats now control the Senate, but State Senate Majority Leader Malcolm A. Smith (D) has said he does not have the votes to pass marriage equality legislation and will not bring the bill to a vote.
Both Smith and Paterson have been outspoken supporters of marriage equality, but while Smith wants a “go slowly” approach, the governor said a vote should be held this session.
Paterson told an Ithaca radio station that he intends to submit a bill to the legislature in advance of the annual lobbying day by Empire Pride Agenda set this year for April 28.
“Why can’t a bill just be on the floor and lose?” Paterson told WHCU-AM, adding “if you have the votes later on to pass it, bring it back.”
Smith later released a statement through a spokesperson calling the governor’s position “a symbolic gesture.”
Wednesday, a new poll was released showing that nearly three-quarters of voters in New York State support recognition of same-sex couples, but are divided on whether that should be marriage or civil unions.
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