Silver shows shift on gay marriage
On the heels of Governor Eliot Spitzers introduction of same-sex marriage equality legislation, Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, who represents Lower Manhattan, gave indications that the bill may come to a vote this year, potentially signaling a shift in his position.
Silvers view on same-sex marriage has long been ambivalent, but in a statement reported by the Daily News last week, he said he expects the bill will be taken up this month.
However, the bills sponsor, Assemblymember Daniel ODonnell of the Upper West Side, cautioned against false expectations of success. While Democrats enjoy a strong majority in the Assembly, holding 108 of 150 seats, it is unclear how many of them would vote to support gay marriage. The Empire State Pride Agenda, a gay-rights lobby group, tallied 62 supporters in the Assembly prior to Spitzers announcement, less than the 76 votes needed for passage.
Though advocates are optimistic that Assembly legislators will be buoyed by Spitzers support, Republicans hold the majority in the Senate by a two-vote margin. This complicates matters for Assembly Democrats, who, according to ODonnell, may be wary of passing the bill with a small margin because it could lock in no votes on the Senate side.