Gay rights advocates from around the nation are watching and waiting on the New York state Senate to call for a vote on marriage equality tonight.
At this hour, more than 20,000 viewers are watching a live stream from the Senate chamber, as a vote is expected before midnight, Eastern time.
There’s a sense the Senate Republicans want to quickly move through the vote and many “no” votes won’t be making lengthy statements.
One Democratic lawmaker says the marriage vote won’t come until 9 at the earliest, with a final vote at around 11.
However, Sen. Mark Grisanti, who is believed to be on the fence, has said he plans to explain his vote. And expect the always outspoken Sen. Ruben Diaz, a Bronx Democrat and Pentecostal minister, to rail against the measure.
The Senate finished debating the SUNY 2020 bill and are now taking up the so-called “big ugly” omnibus measure, which includes a 2 percent property tax cap, mandate relief and a long-term rent control extension for New York City.
Then the same-sex marriage vote must be taken up in the Rules Committee. One interesting note to consider is whether a hand vote will be held in the Rules Committee, where fence-sitting Sen. Steve Saland will have a vote.
His yea or nay will likely foreshadow his floor vote.
Mike Long, the chairman of the New York Conservative Party and a leading opponent of the bill, told The Weekly Standard that the bill will likely pass “by the end of the night.”
“I’m sorry to say that the bill’s going to pass,” Long told me in a phone interview minutes ago. He said that the recently released religious liberty amendment would serve as an “excuse for some Republican senators to hang their hat on.”
“I know they’ve got the 32nd vote, and I think they’ve muscled two more people” to give the vote some cushion.
Speaking to NY1, a New York cable news channel, Assembly member Danny O’Donnell said he’s known for weeks there has been more than 32 votes in the Senate.
O’Donnell reportedly got engaged to his partner of 31 years, John Banta, this evening, shortly after the Assembly approved the amended marriage equality bill.