Polls show the majority of New Yorkers have made up their minds that the state should legalize gay marriage, but ultimately the fight will likely come down to eight state Senators who are still undecided.A Quinnipiac Poll released Thursday finds that 58% of New York voters surveyed support legalizing marriage for same-sex couples, while only 36% oppose. That level of support is an all-time high, even beating out the previous Quinnipiac poll in April, which itself was an all-time high of 56%-38%.
As a bill to legalize same sex marriage in the state makes its way through the State Assembly, Gannett’s Albany Bureau conducted a survey of support among state Senators, and found that out of all them, only eight are still on the fence.
The bill was introduced by Assemblyman Daniel J. O’Donnell (D), and will likely pass out of the Democrat-controlled Assembly. It’s the Senate that’s the problem. In 2009 a similar bill, also introduced by O’Donnell, passed out of Assembly. It ultimately failed in the Senate by eight votes — even though the Senate was then controlled by Democrats. It’s now controlled by Republicans.
From the Star-Gazette:
The measure would need 32 votes for adoption in the Senate, and 26 senators, all Democrats, indicated they would back the bill. Twenty-eight senators expressed opposition — possibly leaving the fate of the measure with the eight undecided lawmakers, which include five Republicans and three Democrats.
Two of the fence-sitting lawmakers, Sen. James Alesi (R) and Sen. Stephen Saland (R) voted against the 2009 bill.
But the difference this time could be Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D), who has high favoribility ratings, and has said he wants the state to legalize gay marriage before the end of the legislative session on June 20th. Cuomo has been courting those undecideds, though he says if he can’t get them, the bill won’t even come up for a vote. “The coalition that has come together was unanimous in saying they don’t want to take a vote unless it’s going to pass,” he said Tuesday. “We don’t need another embarrassment and another setback.”
Meanwhile, opponents of the measure like the National Organization for Marriage are planning to bankroll ad campaigns against any lawmakers who vote for in favor of the bill.
And a group of Republican lawmakers are pushing a bill that would void any same-sex marriages legally performed by other states, which would overturn a 2008 executive order signed by then-Gov. David Paterson (D) that forces New York to recognize those marriages.