In yet another extraordinary development in the debate over gay marriage, supporters are now calling on Senate President Dick Codey to hold the bill during Thursday’s Senate voting session.
In a letter to Codey from Senator Loretta Weinberg who is a prime sponsor of the bill, she asks that the Assembly be given an opportunity to consider the legislation coming off of Monday night’s hearing in the Senate Judiciary committee.
Supporters of the gay marriage bill say that although it passed only narrowly by a vote of 7-6 Monday night, it was historic in nature. They argue that many more people want to be heard on this issue. In addition, a sweeping amendment by Republican Senator Bill Baroni was introduced that would exempt religious groups and institutions from having to perform same sex marriage. ( btw – opponents of gay marriage say the Baroni amendment doesn’t actually do much, nor does it grant protections that are not already outlined in the constitution )
A Democratic insider who is close to the negotiations says they are “confident momentum is on their side.”
Here is the bottom line: the votes are not there in the Senate. And it appears as though they are there in the Assembly – to clear the both the Judiciary committee and to pass the full house. Assembly Speaker Joe Roberts is unlikely to give dates for the upcoming hearing and subsequent floor debate, but I understand it could be early January.
Initially, members of the Assembly had said they would not consider gay marriage until the Senate passed the bill. That thinking seems to have now been turned on its head.
Senator Ray Lesniak says Codey has already agreed to hold the bill.