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New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg will make his first trip to Albany on Tuesday for the specific purpose of lobbying state lawmakers to pass the marriage equality bill.
A Bloomberg administration spokesperson told The Advocate the mayor will meet with lawmakers including state senate majority leader Dean Skelos, who opposes the marriage equality bill but has said he will not prevent it from coming to the floor for a vote this session, a top priority of Gov. Andrew Cuomo. The mayor, a Republican turned independent, has been a major financial contributor to senate Republicans, whose support is needed to pass the measure. The bill failed in the senate in 2009 after passing the assembly three times.
Mayor Bloomberg will join with officials including New York City Council speaker Christine Quinn, the out lesbian lawmaker who has been making weekly trips to Albany to lobby lawmakers. Last month, she said that she believed the state was on the verge of an "amazing, amazing victory," and suggested that she had been able to flip the vote of at least one senator who had been a "very disappointing 'no' vote on marriage."
In addition to his lobbying, Bloomberg has donated at least $100,000 of his own money to the New Yorkers United for Marriage coalition of LGBT organizations working to pass the bill by June, and on May 25 he plans to hold a fundraiser for marriage equality featuring Rufus Wainwright at his foundation, where individual attendees will be asked to contribute from $10,000 to $25,000, according to an invited guest. The next day, the mayor will deliver a speech on marriage equality at Cooper Union that is expected to echo the themes of freedom and basic fairness expressed in his passionate address last summer in support of the mosque and community center proposed near the World Trade Center site.