Senator Diane Savino: More Votes Needed for NY Gay Marriage


Staten Island State Senator Diane Savino, whose impassioned speech from the floor of the New York Senate for marriage equality blew up in 2009, said last night that the new Senate effort is inching forward, but isn’t nearly there yet.

“As we speak, right now, we have 26 votes for this bill in the New York Senate, and it ain’t enough,” Savino told the 13th Annual Marriage Equality New York (MENY) Gala, adding “We need six more votes.” Still, she said, “We’re close. There are some members there,
we’ve just got to pull them across the line.”

How that will happen is still up in the air. “We don’t have a date certain. We don’t have a piece of legislation yet,” Savino said. She added “We have a governor who is committed. We have a mayor who’s committed,” lavishing praise on Mike Bloomberg for personally lobbying in Albany, even though she often disagrees with him.

The air at the party in Ogilvy and Mather’s headquarters was festive, but anxious. In 2009, marriage equality activists wanted a vote, pass or fail, in the Senate just to see where
everyone stood. Now, most realize another loss on the chamber floor would be a disaster.

No one seems certain of where those six additional votes will come from, even with the positive spin of Savino saying they’ve already got “two more than we had on December 9 of 2009.” Still, many in the room hoped that last night will be the last MENY gala, with one longtime member saying they hope “the vote will come in June and we can close up shop and be out of business by July.”

Savino was honored by MENY at the gala as a trailblazer, during a ceremony hosted by Hedda Lettuce. Also honored were Edith Windsor (who paid $363,053 in estate taxes a
married spouse wouldn’t have to pay when her partner, Thea Spyer, of 40 years died), attorney Roberta Kaplan, the NYCLU, Queer as Folk actress Michelle Clunie, and Gay City News Editor in Chief Paul Schindler.

Video via Michael K. Lavers


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