Dueling protests caused pandemonium to fill the hallowed halls of the New York State Senate as the Republican conference met privately to discuss various agenda items including a possible floor vote on gay marriage.
The rumbles in Albany came amid strong sentiment from state Conservative Party chair Michael Long to delay a roll call vote that would make New York the sixth state to all same-sex couples to wed, meanwhile 31 of the critical 32 senators support the measure.
Once again, we urge you to stand strong for traditional marriage and not put a bill on the floor, Long said in a statement. Any bill that will harm our state should not be allowed a vote.
The conservative party boss' sentiment is in stark contrast to comments he made in April that the voters deserve to know where their senators stand on the issue.
Long said any Republican that votes for marriage equality will be stripped of his party's endorsement which would undoubtedly call into question the state's GOP majority and cut off its 0nly link to power in state government
On the way to his office this morning, Dean Skelos, the Republican State Senate Majority Leader said Cuomo's comments yesterday are contrary to what he wanted in the first place.
I think the governor at one time said he didn't want a vote on marriage unless it was going to pass, Skelos told PolitickerNY. So, he's changed his tune. But we haven't conferenced that issue, and at some point, we will.
Originally submitted by Cuomo, the same-sex marriage bill, if passed, would make New York the sixth and largest state to allow gay nuptials. The bill awaits one more Senate vote to pass. Undecided senators have cited concerns over protections for religious groups and individuals as the factors that stagnate the negotiations.
On Tuesday, Skelos said a framework agreement is in place on all outstanding issues except gay marriage. Once there is an overall agreement on the wording of the bill, gay marriage will be conferenced, said Skelos.
A vote on the measure has been delayed as legislative leaders and Governor Andrew Cuomo, who proposed the bill, have reached an impasse in negotiations over separate issues including rent control and a cap on property tax increases.