The New York Assembly passed the state’s marriage equality bill Wednesday by a vote of 80-63, paving the way for it to be taken up in the state Senate later this week.
The Assembly was widely expected to pass the bill, but the state Senate has been a much more difficult proposition for the coalition of gay rights groups and lawmakers who have been trying to get the bill passed. There are currently 31 state Senators who say they’ll support the bill — including two Republicans — and it needs 32 to pass.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) sent the bill to the legislature Tuesday, and according to the City Room blog of the New York Times, the legislature agreed to vote Wednesday after “Cuomo agreed to send the ‘message of necessity’ required for an immediate vote because the bill language was just formally introduced on Tuesday.”
On Wednesday, as reported by the New York Daily News, Republican senators met for four hours about the bill, but did not reach a consensus about bringing the bill to a vote: “We’ve had a tremendous conference, a thoughtful conference discussing the issue of marriage equality,” Majority Leader Dean Skelos said in a statement after the meeting broke. “The discussions are going to continue. The issue has not been resolved and I’ll respect the decision of the conference once it’s made.”
“We will continue to conference the issue tomorrow,” he added.
One undecided lawmaker, Republican Greg Ball, has said he’ll vote “no” unless he gets very specific language in the bill that carves out exceptions for religious groups.