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New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg reinforced his commitment to marriage equality legislation on Thursday, telling an audience of gay supporters that he had talked with state senate leaders earlier that day and told them that moving the bill is the "number one priority."
The mayor spoke in the wake of pushback for his statement two weeks earlier to Gay City News that the marriage equality bill had "zero" chance of coming to the floor for a vote this fall. City Comptroller William Thompson, Jr., the Democratic candidate for mayor, and state senator Thomas K. Duane, the openly gay sponsor of the marriage equality bill, struck back at that assessment, questioning what concrete steps Bloomberg had taken for the legislation.
The mayor seemed to acknowledge the flap in his remarks at the campaign event on Thursday evening in downtown Manhattan.
"I was asked by one of the newspapers, did I think it was going to pass and I said, 'You know, I am so worried about it. I don't think it's going to pass, but I think we have to word as hard as we can to make it pass.'"
Bloomberg shared news of his latest effort in the "frustrating" climate of the state senate, which has yet to vote on the marriage equality bill. The bill passed the assembly in May.
"Just today, I talked to Dean Skelos, the head of the Republicans, and John Sampson, the head of the Democrats in the senate, and I kept telling them, 'This is our number one priority.' And both promised me today that they would take this to their caucus. So maybe we are starting to make some progress," he said.
The mayor did not indicate any timeline for the vote, however, adhering instead to a tone of general optimism.
"I actually in my heart of hearts think this is going to get done, but I think we just got to approach it as we have not gotten to where we want to be, and we have to work every day harder and harder to get this done," he said.
Bloomberg delivered his remarks to an audience of some 400 supporters of his November reelection bid. He was introduced by tennis legend Billie Jean King, with opening remarks from actress Cherry Jones and designer Isaac Mizrahi.