"New Yorkers Rally For Marriage Equality, But It’s The Votes That Count In The End"
Yesterday, over 1,000 supporters of marriage equality rallied in Albany for the Empire State Pride Agenda’s annual Equality and Justice Day. Enthusiasm is high this year as Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) has fervently advocated for the passage of marriage equality by this summer, and he’s joined by a groundbreaking coalition of LGBT organizations, business leaders, and religious leaders. Supporters of marriage equality were joined at the rally by Lt. Gov. Robert Duffy (D), and Assemblywoman Teresa Sayward (R), among others who spoke out.
In October, then-Senate Minority Leader Dean Skelos (R) said that the GOP would welcome another vote if they took control of the chamber (as they did):
If we’re in the majority, my recommendation to the conference would be that we let it come up for a vote again. Things change every year. And who knows? But again, it’s a critically important issue…I think the whole attitude from Albany that whoever’s in the majority would have to pass something, or you don’t let it out, those days have changed.
Skelos maintains his opposition to the measure, but if he fulfills his promise to allow Senators to “vote their conscience,” there will be a chance to see how much things have changed.
The success of marriage equality rests primarily on the Senate (the General Assembly has passed marriage equality bills twice before, in 2007 and 2009). While some of the Senators who voted “No” before are no longer in office, equality advocates are still six votes short. Among the “No” and “Undecided” votes are actually four Democrats, including Ruben Diaz, who hopes to “paralyze all traffic in the Bronx” with his rally against marriage equality this weekend. If the 36 Senators not supporting the bill vote as such, they will betray the soaring majority of New Yorkers who support marriage equality.
If the enthusiasm from yesterday’s rally can be channeled to flip the six votes necessary, marriage equality will be a reality in New York quite soon.
(H/T: Michael K. Lavers for covering the rally.)