The State Senate failed to vote on a measure legalizing same-sex marriage yesterday, but after a two hour closed door meeting with Democratic Conference Leader John Sampson, Senate President Malcolm Smith, and bill sponsor Thomas Duane, Governor Paterson finally emerged to tell reporters that an up-or-down vote on same-sex marriage will be held "at a date not certain between now and the end of the year." Earlier, when pressed about the bill's chances in the Senate, Paterson said, "I can't explain the dynamic of the Senate, because nobody can."
As lawmakers met to try (and fail) to close the budget gap, same-sex marriage advocates protested outside the senate chambers. NY1 has a funny clip of an irate protester excoriating same-sex marriage opponent Senator Ruben Diaz Sr., shouting, "If you want to be a reverend then go back to the church, if you want to be a senator then you stand up for the rights and laws of this country." Then the camera pans left to reveal Diaz Sr. standing right next to the protester, explaining, "No, no, no. If I want to be a senator, let the people in my district decide, not you."
Senator Duane, the openly gay sponsor of the bill, told reporters he's still optimistic that it will be brought to the Senate floor. And Paterson compared the process to the Emancipation Proclamation, which was signed five years after the Dred Scott decision defined slaves as property: "I implored [the Senate] that I would rather see an up or down vote than no action at all. In my opinion, historically, I think we have lost touch with how movements for equality are reached. There are a lot of ups and downs... My view is that an up or down—a record on where the senators in this state stand—is more important."