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LGBT community keeps up fight for marriage rights

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To quote Monty Python, the same−sex marriage bill isn’t dead −− it’s resting.

So believe LGBT advocates who are still holding onto the belief that the State Senate will vote on the issue once they hammer out their leadership struggle in Albany.

Their hopes were ratified by Brooklyn Heights State Senator Daniel Squadron, who said this week that he still believed that the pivotal vote would come to the floor “this year.”

In a conference call with over 100 constituents Monday, Squadron said that once the Senate leadership figures out who’s in charge and the legislative body gets back to business, they must vote on “critical bills first.”

“If we can solve the problems and pass these bills, then we will be able to vote on same−sex marriage at some point this year,” he said. “[That vote] is incredibly important to me.”

The importance was echoed by members of the Empire State Pride Agenda, who said that it was imperative that the State Senate doesn’t break for the year before looking at the Marriage Equity Bill that passed the Assembly in May.

“State Senators need to know that it is unacceptable to leave Albany without voting on and passing the marriage bill,” said Empire State Pride Agenda Executive Director Alan Van Capelle. “Marriage equality is not a partisan issue and should never be used as a political football in the current situation that has caused complete gridlock in the state capitol. Thousands of New York families expect and need Senators to immediately figure out a way to work together and start doing the people’s business.”

“The bill must be handled respectfully and given its due debate so that Senators can vote their conscience on this vitally important issue,” he said.

Closer to home, gay marriage advocates are still hopeful that gay marriage would be visited in the next few weeks.

“[Squadron] certainly would have more knowledge about the intricacies on how the Senate works or doesn’t work, but we are still hopeful that gay marriage will be brought up,” said City Council candidate Bob Zuckerman, who recently held a rally in Washington Park for marriage equality. “We have always maintained that if the bill is put up for the vote, we could get the 32 needed for it to pass.”

“I don’t know of anyone who has given up,” he said.

Still, local LGBT advocates understand the need to put the bill on the back burner, at least for now.

“All of us definitely want gay marriage to come to a vote, but we are sensible and realize that some bills need to be voted on first,” said Mary Cooley, co−president of the Lambda Independent Democrats, the borough’s leading LGBT political club. “We’ve waited this long −− we can wait for a few more months.”

Yet some insiders believe that if the marriage equality vote isn’t called this year, it may not be called next year.

“No one is going to want to put up the bill in an election year,” one insider said.

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