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NY GOP Senate Leader Dean Skelos: Put Republicans In Power And We’ll Bring Marriage To a Vote

Getting the New York State Senate’s Democratic leadership to bring same-sex marriage legislation to a vote last winter was an exercise is seeing grown men and women play hide-and-seek: Nobody wanted to take responsibility for ducking Gov. David Paterson’s demands to at least give the issue an up or down say. And while the vote eventually came on Dec. 2 (it was a No), the Senate’s Republican leader says that if his party regains control of the chamber in next month’s elections, he’ll revisit the issue.

State Sen. Dean Skelos remains opposed to gay marriage, but he’ll let senators vote on it if the GOP picks up the necessary seats to reassert control, which it held for more than four decades until 2008. Speaking to a group of Log Cabin Republicans in New York, Skelos says his party could upend the 32-30 majority Democrats now have, and if that happens he’ll even “let” his party peers deliver a “vote of conscience” — itself a stark departure from what happened last year, when no Republicans voted for the bill, because they banded together in discriminatory opposition.

Says Skelos: “When we win back the majority, let me say there is legislation that all of you are interested in that I believe should be voted on again. We are not going to stifle discussion, we are not going to stifle votes, and it’s truly my belief that people should be allowed -especially legislators, that’s what we’re elected to do- to vote their conscience.”

Does that mean gays should back a Republican ticket in New York? Hardly. Even if this bill gets to the floor in the hands of Republicans, it’ll be as difficult to pass, if not more so, than last year. Especially if they put Carl Paladino in the governor’s mansion.

(NB: Says Skelos of Paladino’s comments: “I think they were inappropriate and he’s apologized for them. I just read the extensive apology and really what we should move on to is discussing taxes spending and job creation. I think that’s where the debate should move to.” Paladino’s running mate, Greg Edwards, was in attendance.)