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Paterson: Marriage Equality Coming to N.Y.


Gov. David Paterson reiterated his pledge to bring marriage equality to New York state Thursday, telling a cheering audience at a major gay rights fund-raiser that they can expect to see a bill pass "just in the next few weeks."

Paterson promised to put the bill on the senate's agenda in the next special session of the legislature, which insiders anticipate will take place within two to three weeks.

"When we do, on the first calendar that is written, marriage equality will be on the calendar," Paterson said to some 1,200 attendees at the annual fall dinner for the statewide LGBT advocacy group Empire State Pride Agenda.

"So, if you've been telling your loved one, 'You know, I'd marry you, but we have this legal problem,' and maybe, as a lot of straight people have done, you've led someone along thinking you're going to marry them, one obstacle or another has prevented it, you'd better leave now, because marriage equality is coming to New York state," said Paterson.

Despite his optimism, the governor cannot force the state's notoriously contentious senate to vote on the legislation, which already passed the assembly. The governor acknowledged the limitations of his role in a question and answer session with reporters, but he predicted the bill would pass whenever it comes to the floor for a vote.

"I don't see the future," he said. "I believe it would pass."

State senator Tom Duane, the openly gay sponsor of the bill, stood by his assertions earlier this year that the bill has the bipartisan support it is believed to need in the narrowly divided senate.

"Whenever they call us back into special session, I'm full speed ahead," he told

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