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Thursday, February 10, 2011

Cuomo Says He’ll Push for Vote to Legalize Same-Sex Marriage

ALBANY — Fourteen months after the State Senate soundly rejected legislation that would have legalized same-sex marriage, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo is preparing to pursue another vote on the matter in the next few months.
Mr. Cuomo, who included legalizing same-sex marriage in his campaign platform, said Wednesday that he intended to ask the Legislature to take up the matter in its current session, which ends in June.
“We’ll be working very hard to pass it,” the governor, a Democrat, told reporters after delivering an encore of his budget address at Hofstra University on Long Island.
His pledge was greeted warmly by gay-rights activists, who have waited with some uncertainty to see whether Mr. Cuomo, faced with a daunting battle over the budget, would make a charged social issue like legalizing same-sex marriage a priority.
Legislation to do that has repeatedly passed the State Assembly, which is dominated by Democrats. But in December 2009, it failed in the State Senate, which was then also controlled by Democrats, by a vote of 38 to 24, an unexpectedly wide margin.
It is not immediately obvious how the legislation would fare markedly better this year, given that the composition of the Senate, which is now controlled by Republicans, has not changed significantly since the last vote.
But gay-rights advocates point to public-opinion polls that show more New Yorkers than ever support the legalization of same-sex marriage.
“This is legislation whose time has come,” said Ross D. Levi, executive director of the Empire State Pride Agenda, the state’s leading gay-rights organization.
A spokesman for the Senate majority leader, Dean G. Skelos of Long Island, who is opposed to legalizing same-sex marriage, said Mr. Skelos would not try to block the legislation from coming up for a vote.
But the spokesman, Scott Reif, suggested that Senate Republicans saw other matters as more pressing.
“At this point, we’re focused on the budget, we’re focused on passing a property-tax cap, dealing with the economic issues facing New York,” Mr. Reif said.


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