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Gay marriage puts pols on the fence

With a new, democratic governor in place, it seems that the issue of gay marriage coming to the floor in Albany is not just a possibility, but a fact. That being said, just who in the Brooklyn delegation would vote in favor of gay marriage? The answer is – inconclusive at best. According to a recent poll, conducted by the Empire State Gay Pride Agenda, more Brooklyn Assembly-members and State Senators are on the fence rather than being on one side of the issue or the other. Their New York State legislature scorecard shows that 10 borough Assembly and Senate members have publicly supported gay marriage while three state legislators have voiced their opposition toward the idea. The remainder – 17 in all – have done nothing to show whether they are in favor of the idea or not, officials at the Empire State Gay Pride Agenda said. According to the legislative report card, Brooklyn Assemblymembers William Boyland, James Brennan, Joan Millman Darryl Towns and State Senators Eric Adams Martin Connor, Velmanette Montgomery, Kevin Parker and Diane Savino all support the idea of same sex marriage. But the largest endorsement for same sex marriage comes from Assemblyman Vito Lopez, chair of the Kings County Democratic Party, who announced last year that he would help push same sex marriages in Albany. His approval came as a surprise to his dinner companions, the Lambda Independent Democrats, one of the largest LGTB political groups in the city. “I support gay marriage and I’ll work with LID to put together a Brooklyn coalition to discuss the issue in Albany,” Lopez said. “We were about to lead up to a discussion of marriage, but the appetizers hadn’t hit the table when Vito stated his support for gay marriage,” said LID Co-President Chris Murray, recalling the meeting: “We were thrilled.” LID members said that Lopez’s support will bring the state one step closer to gay marriage. But getting the rest of the Brooklyn delegation to follow along may be a challenge. Officials at the Empire State Gay Pride Agenda said that Brooklyn legislators who either indicated opposition or have publicly opposed the issue of gay marriage include Bay Ridge State Senator Marty Golden, Borough Park Assemblyman Dov Hikind and Assemblywoman Diane Gordon. The remaining legislators, including recently elected Assemblymembers Hakeem Jeffries, Alec Brook-Krasney and Janele Hyer Spencer all have a position on gay marriage that is “unknown or unclear” according to the poll. But they may have to make a decision, soon. Now that Eliot Spitzer is governor, gay activists are hoping that he will adhere to his campaign promises and bring a gay marriage bill to the floor. As he campaigned across the city, Spitzer claimed that he was going to make New York the second state in the union to extend marriage to same-sex couples. Although he didn’t make any references to same sex marriage in his inauguration speech, Spitzer’s communications director told the New York Sun that the governor was going to “advance” the same sex marriage issue by the end of his first year in office. Insiders said that several bills regarding same sex marriage have already been filed in Albany, but have been mired in various committees.

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