In the wake of the State Senate's 38-24 rejection of a bill legalizing same-sex yesterday, advocates of gay unions will hold a rally on the north side of Union Square tonight at 6 p.m. Demonstrations are also expected in Albany and other cities, as people vent their frustration at the latest in a series of setbacks in the campaign for gay marriage equality around the nation.

But beyond the anger over yesterday's defeat, proponents of the failed Marriage Equality Act also showed optimism, because the up-or-down vote has revealed which lawmakers they need to target. Speaking at a press conference this morning, City Council Speaker Christine Quinn sought to defuse criticism that Governor Paterson and Mayor Bloomberg could have done more arm-twisting to win Republican votes:

The people to blame are the people who voted no. People worked incredibly hard for a really long time, and nobody is to blame here except the people who voted no. And if today's Monday-morning quarterbacking is: 'I didn't make enough calls,' or, 'the mayor didn't make enough calls,' or, 'this one didn't make enough calls'--the people who voted no are the ones to blame here... Aside from the people who didn't have the courage to vote yes, aside from the people who think I am less then them, the mayor did a tremendous amount. I was on the phone all Tuesday, all Wednesday with the mayor's staff. The mayor's staff repeatedly offered, and the mayor himself, offered to do everything anybody wanted him to.

One of the bill's sponsors, Senator Tom Duane (D-Manhattan), had seemed confident before the vote that he had enough support to get the bill passed; afterward he told the press he felt "betrayed" by colleagues who said they would vote for the bill and didn't. Jeff Cook of the Log Cabin Republicans tells the Daily News that a handful of Republicans were prepared to support the measure, but all 212 state lawmakers are up for election next year, and "few Republicans were willing to put themselves on the line for a vote that clearly was losing."

Senator James Alesi, a Rochester Republican who many believed would vote in favor of gay marriage, reportedly looked "anguished" as he voted no; before the debate he had told the News, "In a different atmosphere, there would easily have been five members on the Republican side voting 'yes,' But our primary focus has to be on the fiscal crisis we're in." And in an interview this morning on WHAM-AM in Rochester, Paterson dismissed charges that he didn't do enough to win Republican votes as "ridiculous." He described Wednesday "as sad a day as I've had since I joined public service" and said, "I won't reintroduce the issue unless I see substantial change in the position of the legislators. The vote was 38-24, that's pretty substantial."

Opponents of the bill were ebullient. Maggie Gallagher, president of the National Organization for Marriage, told the Associated Press, "It's just a huge win. It's going to help cement defeat for gay marriage in New Jersey, and I think it's going to get a whole bunch of politicians in New Hampshire who voted for gay marriage this year pretty nervous when they come up for election."