ALBANY—David Paterson said he was disappointed with reports that a vote on a bill legalizing same-sex marriage was a carrot in negotiations over a budget deficit that concluded today.
“The fact that marriage equality, somehow, was manipulated into being part of the DRP negotiation, is something that I think is reprehensible,” Paterson said during a Red Room press conference. “I don’t think that issues stand anywhere other than on their own, and that these issues deserve a vote up or down. So anyone who tried to influence my position on the DRP because they know that I’m interested in passing marriage equality: I think that is a grotesque twist of justice and a rather insensitive way to lobby here in New York State. What I’m saying is that we have a very serious deficit problem; I’m handling in a way that I think is best. And we also have an opportunity to pass marriage equality in New York. I’m not going to take part in any conversations about which one should come first, and how they interact with each other.”
The Times reported this morning that “legislators were preparing to move forward with a vote in the Senate on the marriage bill, but the vote remained contingent on the budget vote happening first – still a big if.”
It now looks more certain. A source involved in the bill advocacy said things were still cautious, and that Paterson made calls last night to proponents of the measure saying the moment was at hand. The bill passed the Assembly earlier this year, and a vote has been promised somewhat vacantly by leaders of the State Senate, where its unclear whether the measure can pass.
Opponents of the measure expect it could be considered tonight.
“From what I’m hearing, they’re bound and determined they want to get it done. It depends on how long it takes to do the budget–the budget is going to go first, so the expectation is it will be real late tonight,” said the Rev. Duane Motley. “Around here they always do the bad stuff at night.”
Richard Barnes, executive director of the New York State Catholic Conference, sent this statement:
“In the last several years, voters in 31 states have taken up the issue of changing the timeless definition of marriage and 31 times they have voted to preserve marriage as the union of one man and one woman. Just last month in Maine, advocates for reinventing marriage outspent their opponents by two to one and still could not sway voters in that socially liberal state, who easily overturned a law passed by the Maine legislature, despite pre-vote polling predicting a dead heat.
“The Maine example follows a pattern wherever a homosexual “marriage” initiative goes before voters – opinion polls routinely overstate public support for this radical social experiment. There is no reason to believe the same is not true in New York. It would be wise for our Senators to keep in mind the lessons of Maine, California and all of the others states that have stood up in favor of marriage: The citizenry does not want their state legislature redefining marriage.”
“We urge the New York State Senate to stand firm in defense of marriage. The people expect nothing less.”