New York appears to be on verge of becoming the sixth state in the nation to allow gays to wed.
Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s effort to push a bill legalizing same-sex marriage through the state legislation picked up even more momentum Tuesday, when two Republican state senators—James Alesi and Roy McDonald—said they would vote for the bill if given a chance, the New York Times reports.
Cuomo’s proposal already has widespread support in the Democratic-controlled State Assembly, which has passed similar bills in the past. But the Republican-controlled State Senate has so far proved to be a hurdle that gay marriage advocates have been unable to clear.
But with Alesi and McDonald joining a near-unanimous Democratic caucus, the effort is now only a single vote shy of the 32 it would need for passage. The Times reports that most observers believe the bill will be able to find the last vote it needs if Republicans relent and bring it to the floor, something that they appear increasingly likely to do before the current legislative session is slated to end next week.
“I’m tired of Republican, Democrat politics; I’m tired of blowhard radio people, blowhard television people, blowhard newspapers,” MacDonald said Tuesday while venting about the political scrutiny surrounding the vote. “They can take the job and shove it. I come from a blue-collar background, I’m trying to do the right thing, and that’s where I’m going with this.”
Cuomo formally introduced the bill on Tuesday in both chambers, something that he had previously said he would not do unless he was confident it had the votes to pass. His proposal includes several provisions that would exempt religious institutions from any obligation to provide facilities for same-sex weddings, language aimed at soothing the concerns of moderate Republicans.
Republican Majority Leader Dean Skelos has not made a final decision on whether to allow the bill to come to the floor, but earlier this week he indicated that he won’t stand in the way of anyone voting their conscience if it does. “If they favor it, I’ve always said, they can vote for it,” he told reporters.
If New York does legalize same-sex marriage it would become the sixth state to do so. It is already legal in Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Vermont, and Iowa. Gay marriage was also briefly legal in California until voters passed Proposition 8 in 2008, which currently faces legal challenges.