State Sen. Thomas Duane to push marriage equality bill

Posted by Glenn Blain on

"The battle over marriage for same-sex couples is about to heat up again in the state Senate.

"Sen. Thomas Duane (D-Manhattan), the Senate's biggest booster of the freedom to marry, said he'll introduce legislation 'within weeks' to legalize marriage equality - and will push for a vote before the end of June.

"'I think everyone is aware that we have to make the lives of New Yorkers better in every way - economically, as well as to provide equality to New York families,' Duane said Monday.

"Although a similar bill was soundly defeated in the Senate in 2009, Duane and other supporters believe Gov. Cuomo's support can finally tilt the political landscape.

"Cuomo, whose favorable rating reached a soaring 70% in this week's Siena poll, called for the legalization of marriage equality in his State of the State address earlier this month.

"'I think the governor is starting in a strong political place with the people on his side and the wind at his back,' said Ross Levi, executive director of the Empire State Pride Agenda.

"'That is helpful.'

"Cuomo's clout has never been stronger. The Siena poll found his popularity spanning the political spectrum, with a robust 60% of Republicans viewing him favorably. Just 17% of voters overall view him unfavorably.

"A full 68% of New Yorkers say they trust him to do the right thing for the state. 'Cuomo's honeymoon is in full swing,' poll spokesman Steven Greenberg said.

"Confidence in Cuomo's support for the freedom to marry was further boosted by the governor's decision - first reported in yesterday's Daily News - to name Erik Bottcher, City Council Speaker Christine Quinn's liaison to the gay community, to a newly created cabinet post for community affairs.

...  "Scott Reif, a spokesman for Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos (R-Nassau), said his boss opposes marriage for same-sex couples, but would not block the measure from coming up for a vote."

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