News (USA)

Gay marriage may be back on NY Senate’s agenda this fall

Gay Marriage New YorkALBANY — Gay marriage may be on the New York state Senate’s agenda as early as this month if Gov. Paterson has his way.

In an interview with the Advocate on Thursday, Paterson said he intends to put the bill legalizing same-sex marriage on the agenda when he calls the Legislature back into session to deal with the state’s $2.1 billion budget deficit.

“I am anticipating a special session and I am anticipating this is one of the issues that we will address,” Paterson told the gay and lesbian magazine.

In May, the New York Assembly passed legislation that would grant marriage rights to gay couples, 89-52. Paterson has pledged to sign the bill if it reaches his desk, but approval in the Senate is the last major obstacle facing the legislation.

Democratic Sen. Tom Duane, the chamber’s only openly gay lawmaker, and who represents part of New York City, said he’s not expecting immediate action on the bill when the Senate returns after Labor Day, but said a vote is possible before the end of September in the special session, said he’s optimistic it will win approval.

A date for the special session has not been set but most lawmakers expect it to be held later this month or in early October.

Paterson spokeswoman Marissa Shorenstein confirmed that the governor intends to place the bill on the session’s agenda.

Under state law, Paterson sets the agenda for any special session he calls but he cannot force lawmakers to vote on legislation. They can simply table whatever measures they don’t like.

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