While 60% of New Yorkers support same-sex marriage, Senate Republicans are obviously focused on the support of the shrinking but influential religious right. A vote in favor of marriage equality in Albany would engender the wrath of the conservative fringe in the 2012 elections—leaving Republicans' delicate 32-30 majority in danger.
The conservative party's support is essential to Senate Republicans. Reports insist that four GOP senators wouldn't have won election last year without its backing.
As we well know, the state senate is one vote shy of the 32 votes needed to make New York the sixth state in the country to legalize same-sex marriage.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo told reporters Wednesday night, "I'm cautiously optimistic that there are going to be enough votes. There's only one way to find out: when they call the vote. There can be a lot of discussion and a lot of speculation, but until a person stands up and their vote is counted, you don't know."
On the other side, there are those darn a'feared of anything that moves society forward, like Dawn Adams, of rural Norwich, N.Y.: "Marriage is between one man and one woman, and we think this is going to ruin our society if this goes through." Unfortunately, she is not alone.
State Conservative Party chairman Michael Long on Wednesday urged Republicans to maintain their grandstanding, yammering that the bill will "harm our state." Jason McGuire, executive director of the conservative New Yorkers For Constitutional Freedoms, is more to the point when he explained the real issue: "Senate Republicans are seeing pressure from the base; it's building."
But Sen. Greg Ball, R-Patterson, Putnam County, one of the undecided senators and among those seeking greater religious protections, understands it's time for due process. "There should definitely be a vote, up or down. We live in a democracy," he said.