Paterson Backs Off On Call For Immediate Marriage Equality Vote

Just a few days after his press conference calling for an immediate vote on his marriage equality bill, New York Gov. David Paterson now says he’ll defer to Senate Majority Leader Malcolm Smith as to when to bring the bill to the floor.

Sen. Malcolm Smith of Queens backs the measure but wants to first secure the 32 votes needed necessary, and he has been missing a few. Announcing his support last week, Paterson urged putting it on the floor of the Legislature for debate despite an uncertain vote. Talking to reporters again Wednesday, Paterson said he won’t tell Smith what to do. “On this particular bill, there are a lot of other issues related to it,” Paterson said. “Senator Smith knows the inertia of the Senate better than anyone else. I’ll stick with his judgment.”

Some LGBT activists had opposed Paterson’s plan for an immediate vote. Openly gay state Sen. Thomas Duane claimed last week that he had secured the necessary Republican support to pass the bill, but declined to identify the Senators in question.