BY Kerry Eleveld
September 03 2009 3:25 PM ET
New York governor David Paterson recommitted himself to including same-sex marriage on the agenda if he has to call a special session this fall in order to shore up the state's budget woes.
“I am anticipating a special session and I am anticipating this is one of the issues that we will address,” Paterson told The Advocate Thursday night, shortly after leaving a meeting that included representatives from the Empire State Pride Agenda, the Human Rights Campaign, and Gill Action Fund. State senator Thomas Duane joined the discussion by phone.
A special session is almost a foregone conclusion at this point, according to people familiar with the situation in Albany. But assembly speaker Sheldon Silver said this week that he would like to pound out the details of a budget deal before agreeing to hold one.
“They want to have a framework before we come back,” said Paterson. “But I do think because of the deficit we’re going to have to come back and hopefully we'll have an agreement.”
The main purpose of the session, which many insiders anticipate would come toward the end of September, would be to close what amounts to at least a $2.1 billion gap in the Empire State's budget this year. But Paterson said same-sex marriage should also be one of the issues up for discussion.
“Normally I wouldn't do it this way,” he said of adding the marriage bill as an agenda item to a special session. “But I felt that the whole fight over the coup denied the people of New York resolution on a number of issues that were very controversial and had been discussed and advocated for. I think that we owe the public a proper disposition on those pieces of legislation, and one of those was marriage equality.”