New public opinion polls in New York and across the nation indicate a solid majority in favor of marriage equality for gays and lesbians. The shift in attitudes has even pierced the thick walls of the New York State Senate chamber in Albany: On Monday, announcing that three Democratic holdouts had announced support of marriage equality, Gov. Andrew Cuomo predicted: “The votes are there.”
With the legislative session scheduled to end June 20, advocates of gay marriage are confident a bill will pass the state Assembly, but they have had a tougher climb in the Senate. In 2009, the Senate defeated a marriage-equality measure, 38-24. The rare floor debate back then was riveting as senators spoke of loved ones unable to make this legal commitment to their partners.
As recently as 1996, when Congress passed the anti-equality “Defense of Marriage Act,” only 27 percent of poll respondents favored same-sex marriage. This year, with the Obama administration backing away from DOMA, multiple polls affirm a remarkable shift:
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