ADDENDUM: GOV. CUOMO SENDS MARRIAGE EQUALITY ACT TO THE SENATE. See a PDF of the bill below the jump.
A Monday statement of support from James Alesi, the first Republican state senator to publicly announce he would vote yes on the marriage equality bill in New York, has given new hope to Gov. Andrew Cuomo's battle to approve the legislation before the General Assembly heads home at the end of the week. Cuomo now says he will push for a vote on Thursday.
Alesi announced, “This [is] a matter of equality for people, our sons and daughters, [who] deserve the same freedom and equality that each of us enjoys in our everyday life."
The statement follows the pivotal announcement earlier Monday that three undecided Democrats who voted no in 2009 would support the bill. By bringing all Democrats except the avowedly homophobic Ruben Díaz Sr. to the table, Cuomo shifted the burden of the bill’s passage to Republican senators, who uniformly voted against the measure in 2009. With the addition of three Democrats and one Republican, 30 senators now publicly support the bill, leaving it two votes shy of passage in the Republican-led 62-member senate.
Polls show that historic majorities of New York voters support same-sex marriage legislation.
Meanwhile, terrified fringe groups are pursuing last-minute efforts to stop its momentum. "New Yorkers for Constitutional Freedoms," a group claiming to represent evangelical Protestants, promised a “bitter war with social conservatives” should Republicans support the bill. Last month, the radical group said it would spend $500,000 in New York on ads that falsely claim passage of the marriage equality bill would put same-sex marriage in school curricula. Because as we now know, there is no credible argument against marriage equality. The only way to convince ignorant constituents that it is wrong... is to lie.
I'll believe it when I see it, but it's encouraging to see open dialogue—along with the hearty support of New York's governor. Hope is never a bad thing.
Marriage Equality Bill