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Marriage Equality Vote Not Yet on Agenda as Legislative Leaders Discuss 'Framework' to Wrap Up

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, and Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos emerged from a meeting moments ago announcing a "framework" to end the legislative session in Albany that would allow voting on many of the pending bills.

Ny The marriage equality bill was not in that list, but it may yet be addressed, and it is vitally important to keep the pressure on.

UPDATE: The timing on marriage equality looks to be focused toward late Wednesday.

City Room:

But the Senate Republican leader, Dean G. Skelos, said his caucus had not yet decided whether to bring to a vote the most contentious issue facing the Legislature: A bill introduced by Mr. Cuomo and approved by the Democratic-majority Assembly to legalize same-sex marriage in New York...

...“We have not finalized the language in terms of religious protections,” Mr. Skelos said. “That still is being reviewed. This conference meeting was to resolve all the other issues.”

Times Union

“There’s a framework by which we plan to end session,” Silver, D-Manhattan, said. “We will be developing with the conference, over the next several hours, the various areas that are important to close down session and hopefully complete session as quickly as possible.” ...

Skelos said there is still no agreement on whether to bring same-sex marriage to a vote in his chamber. The bill passed the Assembly last week 80-63, and has the public support of 31 senators — one shy of the tally needed for passage.

Skelos said “we have not finalized the language in terms of religious protections” some senators are seeking, and as such, a vote has not been scheduled.

Silver said the Assembly is “open to doing amendments” to salve Senate concerns.

Continue to call your Senators. 

New Yorkers, calls these lawmakers, particularly if you are one of their constituents, and urge them to support passage of the bill.


Senator Gregory R. Ball of Putnam County (845) 279-3773

Senator Charles J. Fuschillo Jr. of Suffolk County (516) 882-0630

Senator J. Kemp Hannon of Nassau County (516) 739-1700

Senator Andrew J. Lanza of Staten Island (718) 984-4073

Senator Betty Little of Glens Falls (518) 743-0968

Senator Mark Grisanti of Erie County (518) 455-3240

Senator Stephen M. Saland of Poughkeepsie (845) 463-0840

Senator John Flanagan of Long Island (518) 455-2071

Also, Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos' number is 518-455-3171. Call and politely ask him to bring marriage equality to a vote.

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  1. F.U.C.K.E.D.

    Get ready to hear for days and days about how prayer and the helpless christians saved marriage.

    Posted by: Mike | Jun 21, 2011 1:24:56 PM

  2. Why didn't Cuomo tell Skelos to bring marriage equality to the floor or we no deal? I still think there is a chance at passage, but with Cuomo in the governor's mansion and the Dems in control of Assembly, they are in the stronger negotiating position. We will see.

    Posted by: searunner | Jun 21, 2011 1:27:25 PM

  3. No, this is actually not bad news. They needed to get past this stalemate, and they weren't going to discuss marriage equality at that meeting. Now we probably have to wait for all the other stuff to be voted on before the GOP either do the right thing or remove the goalposts entirely.

    Posted by: Bruno | Jun 21, 2011 1:27:42 PM

  4. Posted this elsewhere, but since this is the latest story on the NY marriage debate, I'll ask it here.

    Can someone explain to me why the NY Republicans are stalling on this issue? In the South, it at least makes some political sense that politicians would pander to the anti-gay crowd, but this situation involves NY where a significant majority supports same-sex marriage. Wouldn't being pro-gay actually help these Republicans retain their seats or is there another factor at play here that us non-NYers aren't aware of?

    Posted by: Mark | Jun 21, 2011 1:30:47 PM

  5. @Bruno

    My concern is that not attaching the marriage equality vote to the other issues will allow Skelos to run out the clock. And while I think the wisest political course of action for him is to bring a vote and get the bill passed and put the issue to rest, he might view not holding a vote as his best and only real option.

    We'll see how this plays out. I always suspected that marriage equality would be the last bill on which the Senate votes...

    Posted by: searunner | Jun 21, 2011 1:32:34 PM

  6. If the Republicans kill the vote, it will be political suicide for them going into the 2012 state senate races in New York. The New York state senate is the last Republican base of power in the Northeast, except for Pennsylvania.

    Posted by: Phil | Jun 21, 2011 1:34:41 PM

  7. @Searunner: Well he could always run out the clock, but I think what happened, and I was trying to convey this to you on JMG, is that Skelos & the GOP drew a line in the sand with marriage equality. They would've told Cuomo that they would not bring it to the floor unless this quid pro quo deal with rent control & tax cap was completed and possibly even voted on. Now we get to see if they ever intended to bring it to the floor to begin with, but it would've had zero chance had this framework not been forged on the other issues.

    Posted by: Bruno | Jun 21, 2011 1:35:13 PM

  8. As a NYer, I've been following this closely over the past few months. Well, past few years. I don't think this is a bad thing at all. They needed to get these other issues (rent, tax cap, SUNY tuition) cleared up before the end of the session as well. Everyone seems to be committed to taking up any necessary language tweaks to the marriage equality bill. Most of the concerns that Republicans seem to have are actually already in the bill. The changes are not necessary. However, they'll be added to make them happy. It'll come to a vote tomorrow afternoon. It'll pass. My guess is 33-29 or 34-28. Governor will sign later this week or early next week. Same-sex marriages will be legal in NY 30 days after that. Maybe I'm optimistic. But, we'll see.

    Posted by: Dan | Jun 21, 2011 1:37:43 PM

  9. From an AP story: "Skelos said Tuesday afternoon that the framework for agreement on rent control and a tax cap had been reached. Those agreements appear to clear the way for gay marriage to be addressed separately as early as Wednesday."

    That's the way I'm looking at it, but I don't think I trust the GOP until they put it to a vote.

    Posted by: Bruno | Jun 21, 2011 1:45:59 PM

  10. Here’s hoping, Dan. If there’s nothing New Yorkers like, it’s a good show packed with lots of drama.

    Posted by: ichabod | Jun 21, 2011 1:47:07 PM

  11. @Bruno,

    I get that the GOP would never bring marriage equality to a vote without a deal on the tax cap and rent control. I had hoped that Cuomo and the Dems would have included marriage equality as part of the framework. Namely, you get this, this, this, and this and we get this. And it could be part of the deal, just not public.

    Some of Skelos' and Silver's comments intimate that a marriage equality bill is alive and well. Skelos mentioned new protections that his conference needed to discuss and Silver said the Assembly would pass what is needed by the Senate.

    Posted by: searunner | Jun 21, 2011 1:47:23 PM

  12. @Searunner: I understand what you're saying, but obviously the GOP were able to dictate the rules on this. Also, Silver keeps saying that the marriage issue talks don't involve him, so that could be another reason they weren't included in the framework.

    But you do have reason to be concerned...look at what Alesi says here:

    Posted by: Bruno | Jun 21, 2011 1:53:50 PM

  13. I still have an ominous feeling that this is not going to happen.....

    Posted by: Bob | Jun 21, 2011 1:55:23 PM

  14. One thing is for sure. This is either going to make Sunday's Pride Parade in NYC either a joyous celebration or an intense rally.

    Posted by: Dan | Jun 21, 2011 1:59:52 PM

  15. @Bruno Alesi remarks are what concerns me.

    It'll be an interesting few days, and I suspect we will continue to hear nothing more than the marriage equality bill is still in conference until just before it is brought for a vote or Skelos closes the legislative session.

    Posted by: searunner | Jun 21, 2011 2:25:40 PM

  16. I dunno guys - I am hoping that this will pass but.......I am getting the same vibes as I did when Prop 8 failed in California.

    In other words - where's the hoopla and protests from the GLBT community at the legislature? Where are the masses chanting for their rights? I just get the feeling that New York's GLBT community is taking this for granted and relying on a few to do the noise making - just like California did.

    I.....just....don't....feel....the weight of the community's support.

    I COULD BE WRONG - but this is my perspective looking on from another state...

    Posted by: CARIBTONY | Jun 21, 2011 2:46:58 PM

  17. I have a bad feeling the clock will run out and the NY GOP will shrug and say - "we just couldn't do it this session"

    I may not be an optimist but this seems like it's taking too long and I don't think the prospects are good. I hope I am wrong.

    Posted by: Jonathan | Jun 21, 2011 2:56:40 PM

  18. @Searunner: Just the mere fact that Alesi is concerned concerns me. Although I'm not sure I quite understand what he's saying...if any Republicans do a runner then wouldn't that just help the bill pass?

    Posted by: Bruno | Jun 21, 2011 3:24:30 PM

  19. "Can someone explain to me why the NY Republicans are stalling on this issue? In the South, it at least makes some political sense that politicians would pander to the anti-gay crowd, but this situation involves NY where a significant majority supports same-sex marriage. Wouldn't being pro-gay actually help these Republicans retain their seats or is there another factor at play here that us non-NYers aren't aware of?"

    Mark, the Conservative Party is the most powerful third party in New York politics and several of the Republican senators rely on votes cast for them on the Conservative Party line for their margins of victory in their races; i.e, if they'd only received votes cast for them on the Republican Party line, they would have lost thei most recent elections to their Democratic opponents. The Conservative Party chair has vowed to withhold his party's endorsement from any Republican who votes for marriage equality (not to mention NOM's vow to spend millions to take equality-supporting Republicans down as well).

    Aside from that, New York Republicans find themselves in the same dilemma that Republicans nationally do. Whereas gay bashing only had political upside in 2004 and other years (thus the Bush-Cheney-Rove-Mehlman campaign of that year), attitudes have changed enough that Republicans both have to (i) avoid being seen as so anti-gay that they alienate swing voters in a general election and (ii) be anti-gay enough that they satisfy the bigots who still to this day represent the most important bloc of Republican voters in primary elections. It's a tight squeeze, especially for those in more moderate districts on Long Island and Staten Island where popular opinion is moving swiftly in favor of equality. Watching some of these guys, like Greg Ball in particular, it's apparent that, whatever the words he is spouting, this is pure political calculus on his part, and that calculus isn't simple in a district which he barely won last November (thanks in part to apathy among progressive voters).

    Posted by: Patric | Jun 21, 2011 3:27:36 PM

  20. @Bruno,

    I think his concern is that senators will just get up and leave and Skelos says something like "sorry, too many senators are gone we can't have a vote". Also, what are the NY State Senate rules regarding quorum and passing a bill?

    @Jonathan, well won't the NY State Senate be back in session in 2012? If their excuse is not enough time this session, well, how about Gov. Cuomo introduces another bill when the legislature reconvenes in 2012, in an election year.

    Posted by: searunner | Jun 21, 2011 3:35:19 PM

  21. @Searunner: I'm not sure about the quorum rules, but can you imagine if Skelos said "oops a bunch of our chickenshit Republican Senators skipped town in order to not have to deal with a heavy vote. So we have to not have a vote until a later date." That would be SOMETHING, I think they'd be torn to bits.

    Posted by: Bruno | Jun 21, 2011 3:41:17 PM

  22. Patric, thanks for the explanation.

    Posted by: Mark | Jun 21, 2011 3:41:46 PM

  23. Watching repugs commit suicide isn't a bad consolation prize if we lose. Then in 2013 we win anyway, except that New York loses millions in sales tax revenue for a couple of years to Connecticut and Vermont, but that's the price tag on stupidity.

    Posted by: Anastasia Beaverhausen | Jun 21, 2011 3:44:52 PM

  24. Too bad you don't have a leader like Jarrett Barrios like we did in Massachusetts. NY legislature is full of homophobes!

    Posted by: Name: | Jun 21, 2011 4:01:24 PM

  25. From what I can tell, a quorum is half the Senate plus one. For example, see this article:

    If my interpretation is correct, we should hope some Republicans use those tactics - it would mean fewer no votes and assured victory of the bill in the state senate.

    Posted by: Mike8787 | Jun 21, 2011 4:20:39 PM

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