First NY Republican Says He’ll Back Marriage Equality Bill

New York State Sen. James Alesi is the first Republican to say he’ll back a bill to legalize gay marriage when it’s brought up, which likely means the legislation only needs two more votes to pass.

Alesi announced his support after a private meeting with Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D), who says the bill will get a vote in the state Senate before the end of the legislative session next Monday. “This becomes a matter of equality for people, our sons and daughters, (who) deserve the same freedom and the same equality in this great country and in the state of New York that each of every one of us enjoy in our everyday life,” Alesi said of his decision, the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle reports.Alesi was one of five Republicans who were undecided about the bill until this week, and now joins three Democrats — Joseph P. Addabbo, Jr., Shirley L. Huntley, and Carl Kruger — who announced their support earlier today.

All four voted against a similar bill when it failed in the Senate in 2009.

This brings the tally to 30 members of the Senate who support legalizing gay marriage, with only one Democrat opposing it. The bill needs 32 votes to pass.

“This is progress, we’re making great progress, we’re moving towards the goal line,” Cuomo said of the developments today. “Twenty-nine out of 30 Democrats is a powerful, powerful statement.”