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Alesi: Gay marriage will pass with 35 votes

James Alesi, candidate for the 55th Senate District

James Alesi, candidate for the 55th Senate District gestures as he leaves the booth after voting in Perinton , N.Y. (Feb. 15, 1996). Photo Credit: AP, 1996

 Sen. James Alesi, who a day earlier became the first Republican state senator to announce his support for legalizing same-sex marriage, Tuesday predicted it will pass with 35 votes in the 62-member Senate.

Mondday, the calculus on gay marriage getting approved by the Senate changed dramatically when Alesi and three previously opposed Democrats said they had changed their minds. That means 30 senators (29 Democrats, 1 Republican) are now on record as supporting a change in the law to allow gay marriage. And that means supporters need to get just two more senators to succeed. 

Alesi, who has represented a Rochester-area district since 1996, told Talk 1300-AM, an Albany radio station, there were "at least five viable votes for gay marriage" among the other 31 Republicans in the chamber. Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos (R-Rockville Centre) said earlier Tuesday that the GOP conference would discuss Wednesday whether to bring the issue to the floor for a vote.

 "I think it will pass (with) 35," Alesi predicted.

 The Democrat-led Assembly has passed bills supporting gay marriage in the past and is expected to do so again.

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