Update 6: Official responses below the fold.
Update 5: A slow roll call vote HAPPENING NOW.
Update 4: The vote is expected as soon as Senator Duane finishes his closing remarks. @prideagenda says of the debaters: By our count we have 18 “yes” and 1 “no” so far. #ilovenyequality
Update 3: Important email from Speaker Quinn
Dear New Yorker,
This is it. The Marriage Equality Act is being debated on the floor of the New York State Senate today. (You can watch it live at http://www.nysenate.gov/blogs/…
We’ve been waiting for this day for a long time, and it’s my hope that a majority of our senators in Albany will make the right decision and cast their votes for marriage equality.
Right now, I’m in Albany after having met with senators on both sides of the fence – and I can report that our leaders in the Senate are working very hard to get the votes. Governor David Paterson, Senator Tom Duane, Assemblymember Danny O’Donnell and every one of our allies in Albany deserve our appreciation for getting us this far.
We need to keep pushing, though. Please call or write your state senator now and urge them to vote for this bill. You can find contact info. for your state senator at http://www.nysenate.gov/senators.
It’s my hope that marriage equality will soon be looked back upon as a great accomplishment that all New Yorkers achieved together.
Christine C. Quinn
New York City Council
UPDATE 2: View live coverage of Senate floor debate here, now.
UPDATE: The marriage equality bill has just been passed out of the Senate Rules Committee. The Senate announces its intention to vote on the marriage bill TODAY. View live coverage of Senate floor here, and here is the NY Senate Twitter feed.
The New York Assembly already passed the marriage equality bill back in May. But as Emeyle Waldherr mentioned earlier today, when one chamber votes on and passes a bill during the “extraordinary session”, the other must also vote on and pass it during the same session before it can go the the governor for signing. Well, the Assembly has left the Senate with no excuses. Empire State Pride Agenda just emailed this (emphasis mine):
Assembly Vote on Marriage Signals Continued Momentum
Just a few moments ago, the New York State Assembly passed marriage equality legislation for the second time this year in a bipartisan vote of 86 to 51. By taking a vote in what is called an “extraordinary session,” the Assembly has removed any obstacle to the bill being sent to the Governor for his signature if the Senate votes on the bill when it reconvenes tomorrow to conduct business.
The Pride Agenda gives special thanks to the New York State Assembly, under the leadership of Speaker Sheldon Silver, that has now voted and passed the marriage equality bill three times. Our thanks also to the legislation’s prime sponsor Assemblymember Danny O’Donnell for leading the successful effort again on the floor.
It is anticipated that forces opposing marriage equality may be coming to Albany tomorrow to put pressure on the State Senate to take no action on the bill. We continue to expect the Senate to give this issue the respectful debate and vote it deserves.
Here’s an interesting tidbit on potential strategy at play
This week could be a good time for lawmakers on the fence to limit exposure back home: A vote in December, six months after the regular session ended and at the same time a major fiscal crisis is addressed, is preferable to voting on the bill as the only agenda item later in the month or in 2010, an election year.
One would hope that today’s nearly-unanimous vote for marriage equality by the Washington, D.C. Council would provide some useful momentum/cover for NY senators, seeing as how the DC Council had the integrity and spine to pass human rights legislation right there in the heart of the beast.
* New York legislature slated to vote on marriage this week…or laterEmpire State Pride Agenda
Pride Agenda Executive Director Reacts to Today’s Vote on Marriage Equality in the New York State Senate
Moments ago, the Pride Agenda released the following statement from Executive Director Alan Van Capelle:
“While we are disappointed by today’s vote, we are pleased that the issue of marriage equality at last was debated in the New York State Senate. We had long called for a public debate on this matter so we could determine who was truly on our side.
It is a step forward for our democratic process in New York that a debate and vote have now occurred. Now we know where we stand, and where we need to concentrate our efforts in the future.
We are incredibly thankful to those who have stood with us and will continue to stand with us as our community presses forward to win marriage equality. In this regard:
We thank Governor Paterson for his unstinting support;
We thank each of the Senators who pushed for a vote and stood with us when it was time to be counted;
We also thank the members of the New York State Assembly-led by Speaker Sheldon Silver and Assemblymember Daniel O’Donnell-who have three times now voted for marriage equality by increasingly bipartisan majorities; and
We thank our many allies in the labor, faith and the business communities for their support and willingness to speak out.
To the tens of thousands of LGBT New Yorkers who have worked hard for equality, and to those who may for the very first time have become politically involved due to this fight, our message is as follows:
Our fight continues. Marriage equality is coming to New York. Time clearly is on our side and you can be sure that we will never stop working until we win.
To those Senators who do not yet see our families as deserving the same protections as other families in New York, our message is simple:
We are more committed than ever to this fight. We will redouble our efforts in your district to ensure that our voice is heard. We know our cause is just. We know that a growing majority of New Yorkers believes in the same values of fairness and equality that we do. If you cannot support us, we will find candidates for public office who do, and we will work through the democratic system to affect needed change.”
Log Cabin Republicans of NY
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 2, 2009
Contact: Gregory T. Angelo
Chairman & Press Representative
Log Cabin Republicans of New York
LOG CABIN REPUBLICANS OF NEW YORK
STATEMENT ON MARRIAGE EQUALITY VOTE
ALBANY, NEW YORK-In response to today’s marriage equality vote in the New York State Legislature, Log Cabin Republicans Legislative Advisor Jeff Cook made the following statement:
“Today we share in the frustration and disappointment that the Senate did not pass the marriage equality bill. We are deeply saddened that the Democratic Conference failed to secure the votes they promised, undermining the possibility of a credible bipartisan vote of conscience on the merits of marriage equality. Winning marriage equality in New York requires the Democrats to keep their promises, and Log Cabin will continue to work to ensure that Republicans vote their conscience when that finally happens.”
Statement by Speaker Christine C. Quinn
Re: Senate Vote on Same-Sex Marriage
“Today the New York State Senate rejected an opportunity to declare that all citizens in New York are equal. The depth of sadness that I and many New Yorkers feel today is difficult to express. This is a loss for every family in New York. This is a loss for every Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender New Yorker.
“I want to thank Senator Tom Duane, Senator Sampson and the rest of the Senate leadership for bringing this issue to a vote on the Senate floor. I applaud them for their dogged leadership on this issue.
“I also applaud every Senator who voted in favor of this civil rights bill. Each of them stood up today and declared that all people should be equal and nobody should be treated differently. I thank all the Senators who spoke so movingly on the Senate floor. I want to deeply thank the advocates who have worked so long and so hard on this issue.
“Today is not, however, by any means, the end of the fight for same-sex marriage in New York State. We will continue to work and fight for equal rights, and if anything our efforts will only be made all the stronger by today’s vote.
“My partner and I will are not able to legally marry in New York State. My same-sex neighbors and constituents are not able to legally marry in New York State. But we will continue to work, to fight and to educate. We will continue to support those amazing advocates who spend every day fighting for LGBT New Yorkers equal rights. We will not accept defeat and we will not stop fighting until all New Yorkers are treated equally. I sincerely believe that some day LGBT New Yorkers will be able to legally marry.”