If the bill to legalize gay marriage in New York is voted on in the Senate this week it will not have local support.
Drew Biondo, a spokesperson for Senator Ken LaValle (R-Port Jefferson), said in an email Tuesday that the Senator has not changed his position on gay marriage. Mr. LaValle voted in opposition to a marriage equality bill that passed the Assembly, but was shot down in the Senate in December 2009.
“He fully supports equality and civil unions, though not gay marriage,” Mr. Biondo wrote.
Mr. LaValle was one of 38 Senators to vote in opposition to gay marriage in 2009, when no Republicans crossed party lines to support the bill.
This time around though, Republican Senator James Alessi of Western New York has stated publicly he will support the gay marriage bill when role is called, something that could happen before the legislative session ends this week. Several media outlets say there is already enough support for the bill, and Senator Alessi has been quoted as saying the bill could pass with 35 votes in the 62-member Senate.
At least one Democrat, Rev. Ruben Diaz Sr. of the Bronx, has publicly opposed the bill, sponsored by Governor Andrew Cuomo.
Mr. LaValle, who represents the entire East End, told The Reporter in the days following the 2009 vote that he didn’t think his constituency was prepared to accept gay marriage.
“What I have heard from a lot of people is that we are just not ready for it,” he had said. “It could happen someday in the future, but just not right now.”
New Yorkers United for Marriage, a gay marriage advocacy group, recently launched an aggressive advertising campaign that included direct mailing to encourage constituents to call Senator LaValle to urge him to support gay marriage.
Mr. Biondo said that as of Tuesday morning about two-thirds of the phone calls the Senator’s district office has received have been opposed to the bill.
“The mail campaign from New Yorkers United for Marriage had an opposite, unintended result,” he wrote in an email Tuesday afternoon.