Frustration spilled over Friday as New York's legislative session dragged on without Senate Republicans calling a vote on a tensely watched bill to legalize gay marriage.
Republicans have yet to put the measure to a vote four days after the session was scheduled to end, emerging from daily closed door meetings without a consensus and charging that language protecting religious groups is not strong enough. Democrats and activists who support the measure are beginning to accuse Republicans of stalling.
It's outrageous, said Democrat Liz Krueger. We were sent home last night without really any explanation.
Advocates have begun calling for an up or down vote, charging that Republicans are not allowing democracy to take its course.
It's time for a vote, said Brian Ellner, the head of the marriage effort for Human Rights Campaign. This is a democracy, and a supermajority of New Yorkers support equality.
Ross Levi, the head of the Empite State Pride Agenda, said that there is no excuse for not allowing democracy to happen and allowing an up or down vote.
So far, two Republicans have joined all but one Democrat in saying they will support the bill if it comes to the floor. That leaves supporters one vote shy of the majority needed to pass the measure, although insiders have said it is unlikely a single Republican senator will defect and expose himself to the party's disapproval. Supporters were dealt a blow Friday when the formerly vaccilating Republican Greg Ball said he would not support the bill, citing the religious exemptions that have become a central point of contention.
Over the past few weeks, I've had the distinct opportunity of listening to literally thousands of residents, on both sides of this issue, by holding an undecided stance, Ball said in a statement. I am proud that I have secured some strong protections for religious institutions and basic protections for religious organizations. The bill still lacks many of the basic religious protections I thought were vital, and for this reason, and as I did in the Assembly, I will be voting 'no.'