New York Gov. David Paterson is calling the Legislature back to Albany for an "extraordinary session" on Tuesday to reduce the $3 billion deficit and possibly vote on legalizing same-sex marriage. Few expect the governor and lawmakers to agree on the contentious budget reduction and actually vote by Tuesday. That means other issues, such as marriage equality, could dominate the session, reports the New York Times City Room Blog:
Whether Senate Democrats allow a vote on same-sex marriage remains to be seen, and it is far from certain that the measure would pass in the Senate even if it does come to the floor for a vote. Same-sex marriage has already been passed twice in the Assembly, but it faces an uphill battle in the Senate.
Democrats have a shaky 32-30 edge in the chamber, but several Democrats do not support same-sex marriage. The governor included the measure on Senate agendas this summer, but gay advocates were concerned about holding a vote then because the Senate was in the midst of a bitter leadership feud. Now, however, advocates are pushing for a vote, despite the uncertainty about how the Senate will act. And the governor has little influence over his fellow Democrats in the Senate; members of the caucus said that they do not plan to travel to Albany on Monday, at the governor’s request, to listen to an address he wants to give to a joint session of the Legislature.
Attendance on Tuesday will be mandatory under state law. However, the governor can call the legislature into session but cannot force a vote on specific issues. A spokeswoman for Senate Majority Leader John Sampson would not say whether there would be a vote on same-sex marriage. Malcolm A. Smith, the Queens Democrat and Senate president, said, "If it’s on the proclamation, I would assume we would bring it out for an actual vote."
The Democrat-led Assembly approved 89-52 its version of the marriage bill in May. The bill has been stalled in the Senate.