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N.Y. Gay Marriage in '09: Zero Chance

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New York City mayor Michael R. Bloomberg rated the chances for a marriage equality bill in New York this fall at "zero, zero" despite acknowledging his own influence over some intractable Republicans in the state senate.

Bloomberg, who is running for reelection to a third four-year term in November, made the bleak prognosis in an interview with Gay City News on September 17.

"'I don't know how to get it to come up,' he said," according to Gay City News, "explaining his view that having the issue move to the senate floor may prove more difficult than rounding up the votes. 'If you want my honest opinion,' Bloomberg continued, the senate leadership is unlikely to move a gay marriage bill 'when I don't see these guys willing to stand up for less controversial issues.'"

Bloomberg, a billionaire who made his fortune as the founder of a financial software services company, also predicted that gubernatorial candidates would shy from marriage equality in 2010.

"Whether anybody who runs for governor next year will stand up for gay marriage, I'll bet you 25 cents no," he told Gay City News.

The interview was conducted before news broke that President Obama had asked Gov. David Paterson, a staunch marriage equality ally, not to seek election because of his low approval rating.

Despite his assessment, Bloomberg touted his influence over Republicans such as Frank Padavan of Queens, who, with conservative Democrats such as Ruben Diaz Sr., have stood in the way of the marriage equality bill in the senate.

"'I'm the main funder,' Bloomberg said of his ability to sway the views of Republican senators. 'You know, you can't dictate every piece of legislation, and I don't want to say that they're bribable. But they know where I stand, and they want me to be a supporter.'"

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