Empire Equality

The Best Evidence Yet that New York Will Legalize Gay Marriage


So New York Gov. David Paterson introduced his own gay marriage bill, which took many by surprise, and pissed off senior Democratic leaders who saw the move as encroaching on their territory. But, what’s … this? Sen. Thomas Duane, the Senate’s only openly gay official, is introducing his own bill?

This is big news. Why?

Because Duane, like Majority Leader Malcolm Smith, believes in only introducing legislation if he thinks it’ll pass.

Which means the marriage equality bill Duane just introduced — which says a marriage “shall be valid regardless of whether the parties to the marriage are of the same or different sex” — will likely pass, otherwise Duane wouldn’t have brought it up.

And that means Republican senators have to be on board, given certain Democrats refusing to sign on board. Duane’s bill has 18 co-sponsors; it needs 32 votes in the Senate. Meanwhile, the State Assembly’s version of the bill from Manhattan’s Rep. Daniel O’Donnell has 53 sponsors.

All of which leaves Democrats like Sen. Ruben Diaz — who’s lobbying religious and Hispanic groups to keep the legislature from approving gay marriage — squarely in the bigot aisle.