Waiting on the New York Senate to Come Around

It's painful how close New York is to passing a same-sex marriage bill. The governor supports it; the state assembly supports it. Exactly half of 62 state senators support it. If one more senator would sign on, it would pass. But [after a four hour meeting](http://cityroom.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/06/15/new-york-senate-republicans...) discussing the bill this afternoon, Senate leaders would still not commit to bringing the bill to the floor.

The bill in question has made a particular effort to keep religious institutions out of the issue: it ensures that any religious leader who does not want to marry same-sex couples would not legally have to. The bill makes it illegal for the government to discriminate against same-sex couples when issuing marriage licenses.

I don't believe that all 31 of the remaining state senators think that same-sex marriage is an abomination that has no place in society. But they know a vote for this bill could hurt them in the next election: the Conservative Party has said it would withdraw support from Republican candidates who vote for the bill. In New York, candidates can appear on multiple party lines, and many Republican candidates do draw votes from the Conservative party line. But on an issue like this, when an entire sector of society is being discriminated against and the government has a chance to fix that inequality, that sort of electoral calculus seems particularly craven. [One of the most powerful moments](http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/post-partisan/post/do-the-right-thin...) in the past couple of days was when State Sen. Roy McDonald, explaining his decision to vote for same-sex marriage, said, "I'm trying to do the right thing." Surely one more state senator has enough conscience to feel the same way.

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