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Survey: 21 N.Y. Senators for Marriage Equality


New survey results from New York 1 News show that only 21 state senators support the marriage equality bill, but insiders, such as Sen. Tom Duane (pictured), the openly gay sponsor of the bill, suggest to that the real number could be higher.

Now that Gov. David Paterson and the Democratic senate leadership have promised a vote on the measure before the end of the year, the local news network posted a tally that would seem to pose a challenge for the bill. The bill needs 32 votes to pass the chamber.

"Of 62 senators, 21 are supportive," NY 1 reported. "The remaining 41 are opposed, wouldn't say, or couldn't be reached Wednesday, a state holiday."

Senator Duane, the lead sponsor of the marriage equality bill, told on Wednesday that he remains "very optimistic" that the bill will pass with bipartisan support before the end of the year, although he declined to discuss the specifics of the current vote count. Given that Democrats hold a slim 32-30 majority, and at least two Democrats, including Sen. Ruben Diaz Sr., are known to be opposed to the bill, Republican support almost assuredly would be required to pass.

Duane, who said he very much wanted to see the bill come to the floor during the special session on Tuesday, could not offer an exact timeline on the promised vote, and the budget crisis remains the unresolved priority for lawmakers. However, the next possible opportunity for a marriage equality vote would come on Monday or Tuesday, when the senate returns to the special session, where Governor Paterson has once again put the marriage equality bill on the agenda.

"In terms of what does and doesn't come to the floor on days like Monday and Tuesday, it's generally not decided in advance," said Duane. "And this is the way Albany is. What decisions about what is going to come to the floor are based on that day," he said.

If a date for the vote is uncertain, at least the immutable opposition of Senator Diaz, a Pentecostal minister, is clear. Advocates bent on staging an intervention should take note.

"I'd put him in my 'definite no' column," said Duane.

See the tally by NY 1 News here.

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