The session would address the Empire State's $3 billion budget deficit and other unfinished business from the regular session that ended this summer in a highly-publicized Senate power struggle. The Democrat-led Assembly approved 89-52 its version of the marriage bill in May.
Marriage equality has always faced an uphill battle in Senate where Democrats once again have a razor-thin 32-30 majority. Sen. Ruben Diaz Sr.—the arch-conservative anti-gay Pentecostal minister from the Bronx and a nominal Democrat—vows to do whatever it takes to prevent gay marriage. Thomas Duane, the openly gay Manhattan Democrat who is the bill's lead Senate sponsor, says several Republicans may support the bill. Senate Republican leader Dean Skelos says there will be no formal GOP position and members may vote their conscience.