It's a familiar scene with a major twist: New York lawmakers meet behind closed doors in the frantic last days of a six-month legislative session with a big pile of seemingly unconnected issues on the table in front of them. This year, however, there is intense national focus on one big issue left dangling: gay marriage. The 32 Republicans meeting will decide, maybe as soon as tomorrow, whether to send a bill approving same-sex marriage to the floor for a full vote. Only three Republicans need to vote for it to make New York the sixth state where gay marriage is legal.
Other remaining issues such as rent control and a tax cap were dealt with this afternoon, says Republican leader Dean Skelos, potentially clearing the way for gay marriage to be addressed separately. Today was the last scheduled day of the legislative session, but it appears that legislators will stay one more day and could still take up the issue. Twenty-nine of New York's 30 Democratic senators currently support the gay marriage bill, as do two Republicans, creating a 31-31 tie. Two or three Republicans are undecided on their vote.