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By Peter J. Smith

ALBANY, New York, June 4, 2009 ( – With less than three weeks to go before the end of New York’s legislative session, a fight is brewing over what one senator has called a “mind game” being played over the same-sex “marriage” bill by its chief proponent. Backroom deals over the contentious bill, however, have still not gained a solid majority in the state Senate to pass the measure.

The political maneuverings of the bill’s chief sponsor, homosexual state senator Tom Duane (D-Manhattan), has angered the Senate’s foremost opponent of same-sex “marriage,” Ruben Diaz Sr. (D-Bronx), who yesterday stated he found Duane’s attempts to manipulate his fellow senators into forming a majority on the issue a “disgrace.”

Duane has stated publicly that he has the majority of the Senate’s 62 votes to pass, a claim made highly dubious by Democratic majority leader Malcolm Smith’s continued reluctance to bring the bill to a vote.

“It is a disgrace that Senator Duane is playing this mind game with his colleagues and with the public,” stated Senator Diaz. “If Senator Duane has the votes, he should release the names.  If not, then he should be ashamed of himself. ”

A recent NY1 survey tallies only twenty committed “yes” votes – all Democrats, and only two of them upstate representatives. On the other hand, 22 Republicans and 6 Democrats have stated they will vote “no.” In a senate not famous for bipartisan cooperation, and narrowly split 32-30, Democrats to Republicans, the loss of six Democrats puts the passage of the bill into doubt.

Ten Senators – an even split of Democrats and Republicans – told NY1 they were still undecided. However, four senators refused to state their position at all, one of whom said it was the kind of answer the new Democratic leadership deserved for its treatment of the Republican minority. 

“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,” GOP Sen. Jim Alesi from the Rochester area told NY1.

However Diaz challenged those senators who are staying mum on their commitment to vote for the same-sex “marriage” bill, saying they “should be man or woman enough to take a stand and stand by his or her convictions.”

“If any Senators are unwilling to release their names prior to voting for the homosexual marriage bill,” stated Diaz, “they are sending a clear message to the gay community, and to the whole State of New York, that these Senators are unwilling to let the public know, and that they are ashamed to be publicly associated with the gay community.”

According to a Siena Research Institute poll of 622 respondents conducted May 18 – 21, support for same-sex “marriage” has slipped, showing New Yorkers are now evenly divided 46 – 46 percent on the matter. The poll also indicates a greater majority of New Yorkers – and sizable constituencies of both parties – would be upset if the Senate passed the measure: 39 percent said they would be “very upset” and an additional 37 percent said they would be “somewhat upset.” 

The same-sex “marriage” bill was approved May 12 in the Democratic controlled state Assembly by an 89 – 52 margin. Gov. David Paterson, one of the main forces behind the bill, (see coverage) says he will sign it once the Senate has given its approval. The Senate has until the end of the legislative session, June 22, to vote on the measure.

The NY 1 survey of New York State Senators position on the same-sex “marriage” bill can be found here.

To view the results of the Siena Research Institute poll, click here.

See related coverage by 

NY Governor to Introduce Homosexual “Marriage” Bill

New York Governor Memo Says State Agencies Must Recognize Gay “Marriage” Performed Outside the State