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NY Gay Marriage: LI GOP Senators Unlikely To Approve


New York Gay Marriage Vote

Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos, R-Rockville Centre, speaks to reporters after meeting with Gov. Cuomo on gay marriage, Thursday, June 16, 2011 in Albany, N.Y. Conflicting interests and political maneuvering threatened to stall a vote in New York on whether to legalize gay marriage, viewed by advocates and opponents alike as a pivotal moment in the years-long debate.(AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)

Don’t expect the one critical vote needed to make same-sex marriages in New York a reality to come from any of Long Island’s nine Republican state senators. That’s the conclusion of an informal tally conducted by the Long Island Press Friday—just days before the legislative session deciding a historic vote on its fate ends.


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Passed by the Democratic majority in the state Assembly earlier this week 80-63, passage of the Marriage Equality Act in the closely-split 32-30 GOP-majority Senate currently reportedly requires just one Republican vote in order to become law.

New York would be the sixth state to allow same-sex marriages.

With the legislative session closing Monday, however, the clock is ticking. And according to the Press poll, gay couples from Long Island looking to exchange vows shouldn’t hold their breath if they’re expecting their Republican representatives to pull the trigger.

Whenever the bill does hit the Senate floor, all nine Long Island Republican senators are expected to vote “No” on the measure.

Sen. Kemp Hannon (R-Garden City) tells the Press he would shoot it down; Long Island’s eight other senators are leaning towards voting no as well, say their camps.

“Senator [Kenneth] LaValle [R-Port Jefferson] is for gay equality, civil unions, but not marriage,” says a spokesperson for the senator. “He believes marriage is between a man and a woman.”

A spokesperson for Sen. John Flanagan (R-East Northport) tells the Press the senator voted against same-sex marriage in 2009, adding that his position hasn’t changed.

“Civil Unions seem like a better way for him to go,” says Flanagan’s spokesman.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo—a Democrat and staunch supporter of gay marriage—has been lobbying individual senators to obtain that final vote to push the bill over the top, according to the Associated Press.

David Kilmnick, CEO of the Long Island GLBT [Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender] Community Center, remains hopeful the bill will be passed.

“I do think we’re on the brink of history here in New York,” he tells the Press. It would be “nice” he added, “if our Long Island senators were on the right side of history, because marriage equality is going to pass.”

The push for marriage equality comes just one month after a Gallup Poll revealed 53 percent of Americans surveyed think same-sex marriage should be legalized. A Siena Collage poll released in May said 54 percent of New Yorkers support gay marriage.

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