NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — The issue of gay marriage in New York was in the hands of the State Senate’s Republicans Thursday who were divided over whether to bring the controversial measure to a vote.
The Republican leader of the state Senate, which controls the fate of the measure, emerged from yet another closed-door meeting Thursday morning with no plan to bring the issue to a vote. Dean Skelos, a Long Island Republican, gave the brief update after meeting with New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, a supporter of same-sex marriage.
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Volunteers spent part of last night calling thousands of supporters in a few remaining swing districts, urging them to pressure their lawmakers to vote for the state’s Marriage Equality Act, which passed the state assembly Wednesday night.
An unofficial count in the State Senate leaves the issue at a 31-31 tie.
Democrat Manhattan Assemblyman Daniel O’Donnell spearheaded the legislation.
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“We have a full commitment of 31. We need just one more vote,” the gay lawmaker said. “So I’m very hopeful that by the end of the week I’ll have a right to get married.”
Some Republican senators, like Andrew Lanza of Staten Island, said they’re on the fence. With the possiblity same-sex marriage closer than ever before in the state, there was passion on both sides of the aisle and from the state’s religious leaders.
“It is totally against our Torah values and the Biblical values that this country was based on as articulated by the Founders,” said Rabbi Noson Leiter.
Archbishop Timothy Dolan was also lobbying against passage through posts on his blog.
“Our beliefs should not be viewed as discrimination against homosexual people. This is not about denying rights. It is about upholding a truth about the human condition,” Dolan wrote.
Cardinal Edward Egan also opposes the bill and warns we all know what marriage is and you can’t legislate realities.
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“Ever since I came in 2000, I’ve said to all who will listen and I’ve especially sat down quietly with our political leadership to say that this is a great mistake,” said Egan.
Egan called legalizing same-sex marriage “a great mistake.”
Thursday afternoon, Latino clergy who oppose same-sex marriage rallied outside the Bronx office of Senator Ruben Diaz Sr., the only Senate Democrat against the legislation.
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Bishop Hector El Banano, who represents New York Evangelicals, says their still in the Albany fight.
“I mean we’re still pressing and calling and getting the word out,” he said. “But I’m aware we’re talking about 1 or 2 votes.”
In this group, there’s no compromise on this issue. One reverend said chaos and confusion can only follow the bill’s approval.
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