Duane Says That the Votes Are There, Now, for Same-Sex Marriage

ALBANY—With three weeks and a day left in the legislative session, advocates are once again pushing for a State Senate

ALBANY—With three weeks and a day left in the legislative session, advocates are once again pushing for a State Senate vote on same-sex marriage.  State Senator Tom Duane, the bill's main sponsor in the chamber, said he was completely "confident," but in a back-and-forth with reporters, dodged specifics.

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"I don't want to seem overconfident, but I'm confident it's coming to the floor, I'm confident it's going to win, I'm confident we're going to have the vast majority of Democratic votes and several Republican votes as well," Duane said.

He was asked which Republicans support the measure, because none have gone on the record in favor.

"I would not want to deny them the pleasure of telling you themselves. That would just be wrong and really impolite of me to do that," Duane replied.

How many votes exactly do you have?

"A good elected official would never give up their vote count," he replied.

What will you say to Smith if it doesn't come to a vote this session?

"It's coming to the floor, it's passing," Duane replied.

Has he assured you as much?

"It's actually a joint effort of assuring each other, because we are counting the votes together."

Has he told you he will bring it to the floor?

"He has told you he will bring it to the floor," Duane said. "And I'm telling you we have the votes."

This year?

"I'm telling you we have the votes, it's coming to the floor, it's passing. I'm not being coy."

It was suggested that he was actually being coy.

"Am I?" Duane said. "I'm telling you, and I've told him, and I'm saying it publicly: there are enough votes, it's coming to the floor, it's passing."

Majority Leader Malcolm Smith told reporters that the chances of passage were getting better, although he was unready to declare, as Duane had, that the votes are there.

"As I've said before, I don't want to bring the bill to the floor until I have 32 votes. And every day, there is some additional momentum, if you will," Smith said.

The lobbying is still going strong. A key part of the effort has been putting human faces behind their effort. After the event, a Duane staffer rushed to pair reporters with the same-sex couples who attended the event. Also today, the New York Civil Liberties Union launched a new Web site stocked with several new videos featuring people telling their stories (see below). As Liz points out, there have been other officials traveling to Albany to make the case as well.

Duane Says That the Votes Are There, Now, for Same-Sex Marriage