Senate Coup Could Bring Gay Marriage Bill to a Vote

Malcolm Smith had refused to bring the bill to the floor

One result of the power struggle in New York's Senate may be a vote to legalize same-sex marriage -- and Gov. David Paterson has turned to an influential Republican to help bolster support in the strife-ridden Senate.

Democratic leader Malcolm Smith has refused to bring the bill to the floor, saying he didn't have the 32-vote majority needed to pass it.  But the 30 Republicans and two dissident Democrats who allied to overthrow Smith could bring the measure to the floor if their Monday power grab holds. It faces uncertain prospects in a vote.

Paterson's administration has now reached out to a surprising new ally in its quest to convince Senate Republicans to vote "yes" on gay marriage: former Senate Leader Joe Bruno, a Republican who left Albany 10 months ago.

Bruno, who supports gay marriage, says he won't approach any of his GOP colleagues directly.  But he told WRGB in Albany  that he will simply tell them of his opinions, but has no intention "trying to influence anyone's thinking."

One of the dissident Democrats,  Sen. Pedro Espada Jr., says he supports gay marriage.  However he says he has not discussed the issue with Republican Dean Skelos, the new Majority Leader.  Skelos opposes allowing gay couples to marry, but has said that he would let Republican lawmakers vote as they chose.

The bill's sponsor, Democratic Sen. Thomas Duane, insists he will have enough votes if senators are required to vote on it.

A bill to legalize same-sex marriage has been approved by the Democrat-led Assembly.
Paterson says he wants the Senate to vote on the bill.

In a press conference today, Paterson said "there’s a time for campaigning and a time for governance. These are the times we’re supposed to be governing."

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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