Paterson Set to Introduce Gay Marriage Bill on Thursday

Gov. David Paterson is expected to introduce legislation Thursday to legalize same-sex marriage, even though Senate Democrats say they don’t have enough guaranteed votes to ensure the bill’s passage.

The move has angered some gay rights advocates who do not want to push another same-sex marriage bill until they are sure it will pass both houses of the State Legislature. A similar bill in 2007 passed the State Assembly but was defeated in the Senate.

Paterson is expected to introduce the bill Thursday, according to two legislative officials who spoke on condition of anonymity because there's been no formal announcement. Last week, he told an upstate radio station he was getting ready to introduce the measure.

"I'm going to put the bill out and just let people fight it out," Paterson said in an appearance on the Buffalo radio station WGR-AM (550). "I would like to see the Legislature just debate the bills that people think are controversial.

Paterson's introduction of the bill to the legislature doesn't mean it will soon go for a vote Senate Majority Leader Malcolm Smith supports the measure, but his spokesman said Tuesday they don't believe there are enough votes to pass it. Smith has also said he won’t put the bill to a vote unless he’s certain there are enough votes to pass it.

“Why would you want people to vote on something that you knew wasn’t going to get passed,” said Alan Van Capelle, executive director of the Empire State Pride Agenda, said. “We’re not interested in making statements.”

Paterson has maintained that legalizing gay marriage in New York was one of the top goal’s of his administration. 

Some analysts suspect Paterson’s move to legalize gay marriage is also an attempt to take a bold legislative move in an effort to help his approval numbers.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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