A survey of all 62 state Senators shows that a pending same-sex marriage bill faces tough odds of passing if brought to the floor for a vote. Majority Leader Malcolm Smith says he won't do that unless he's certain it has the 32 votes needed for passage, and the survey, conducted by NY1, would seem to contradict the bill's primary sponsor, Thomas Duane, who has optimistically predicted "there are enough votes for it to pass and a cushion." Reverend Jason McGuire of New Yorkers for Constitutional Freedoms tells NY1, "We're very confident in the fact that this bill is quickly going to crash and burn."
According to the survey, twenty lawmakers would vote "yes," nine senators are undecided, and five noncommittal. If only three more undecided lawmakers decide to oppose gay marriage, the bill would fail. Among those who are undecided or undeclared are New York City Senators Hiram Monserrate of Queens, Andrew Lanza of Staten Island, John Sampson of Brooklyn and Ruth Hassel-Thompson of The Bronx/Westchester.
Rochester-area Republican Jim Alesi is one of the five who refused to reveal how he'll vote (though you could probably guess based on party affiliation). He says he's keeping his lips sealed to make Smith's guesstimation harder: "Since we haven't been receiving the kind of help that I think that we should be afforded as members of the Senate from this new majority, I'm not in any way shape or form wanting to make it easy for him to decide whether he's gonna bring that bill to the floor or not."
But gay marriage advocates like Alan Van Capelle at the Empire State Pride Agenda remain optimistic that enough votes can be rallied before the Senate's session ends on June 22nd, telling NY1, "If legislators were truly intent on voting no... they still wouldn't be taking meeting with supporters of marriage equality in their districts. They're looking for a reason to get to yes." For New Yorkers interested in pressuring the undecided Senators, the group New Yorkers for Marriage Equality has a one-stop website that helps you track them down by phone, e-mail and snail mail.