Legislative leaders in Albany are struggling to reach an agreement over same-sex marriage legislation. Though they've resolved other outstanding issues, New York State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver sounds resolute about bringing the legislative session to a close. "There's a framework by which we plan to end session," said Silver. "We will be developing with the conference, over the next several hours, the various areas that are important to close down session and hopefully complete session as quickly as possible."
While the comments from Silver and his counterpart in the Senate Republican leader Dean Skelos do not explicitly rule out a vote on same-sex marriage legislation, their conspicuous avoidance on the issue says as much to those following the issue closely. Reports the Albany Times Union:
[Silver] and Skelos refused to offer details of the agreement before briefing members of their conferences; Cuomo refused to address journalists after the closed-door meeting. The “framework” includes a two percent cap on local property taxes, renewal of rent regulations, a plan to gradually increase SUNY tuition (at the request of campuses), provide a measure of relief for local mandates and set up a program providing low-cost power for economic development purposes.
“We’re working on details, but I’m very confident in working with the governor, he has shown tremendous leadership, and the speaker, showing flexibility, that we will have a session completed tomorrow,” Skelos, R-Long Island, said.
Skelos added that the Senate leaders "have not finalized the language in terms of religious protections" and so have not scheduled a vote.
Continued silence from President Obama suggests any hopes that he might take a public stand are going to be disappointed. The White House is starting to sound like they're pandering to both sides, however. Press Secretary Jay Carney reiterated the president's commitment to leave the issue up to the states, but an official told Sam Stein at The Huffington Post on Tuesday, "Although the President believes that this is an issue best addressed by the states, he also firmly believes that committed gay and lesbian couples should receive equal protection under the law."
Protests continued in Albany on Tuesday afternoon. According to on-the-ground reports, those in favor of same-sex marriage chanted "Say, I do!" as those opposed chanted "God's Law!"