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All eyes on gay marriage bill in NY as legislative session nears end

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History could be made Monday if the state Senate approves same-sex marriage, which Sunday still appeared to be one vote shy of having the votes to pass.

Advocates rallied in the city Sunday and continued peppering undecided legislators with phone calls to back the bill, which could come up for a vote on what’s the final day of the session.

“We remain cautiously optimistic,” said Jake Goodman, a founding member of Queer Rising, which held a “marriage inequality” march in Union Square. “We firmly expect a vote on it.”

The Assembly already passed Cuomo’s gay-marriage bill last week 80-63. However, one more “yes” vote would be needed in the Senate for the measure to pass. While 31 Senators, mostly Democrats, are in favor of the bill, there are at least three Republicans who are publicly undecided.

Should the measure remain at a 31-31 split, it would fail, said Austin Shafran, a spokesman for Senate Democrats. In this case, Lt. Gov. Robert Duffy, a Democrat, cannot be called in to break a tie.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo made sure to include certain exemptions in his bill in order to appease Republicans who don’t want religious or benevolent groups to be forced to accommodate gay weddings.

Other pressing issues before the Senate – renewing rent control laws and capping property taxes – also remain undecided, and Cuomo has warned he will extend the session if those items aren’t resolved. But all eyes remain fixed on gay marriage.

Archbishop Timothy Dolan asked Catholics on Sunday at St. Patrick’s Cathedral to pray so that traditional marriage will be protected.

“Any presumption to redefine that sacred vocabulary, I’m afraid is at our common peril,” Dolan said, according to WCBS.

His words bothered some New Yorkers.

“Something the Bible says has nothing to do with whether people are in love with each other,” said Emma Varvalouscas, 20, of Chinatown. “It’s two consenting adults coming to a decision. Why should anyone care?”

(With Tiffany Lo)


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