Skelos Says Lawmakers Can Vote Their Conscience On Same-Sex Marriage

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Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos this morning continued to insist that Senate Republicans would be able to vote their conscience if a bill to legalize same-sex marriage comes to the Senate floor, despite criticism from the governor’s office that the GOP is blocking senators from voting how they want.

“If they favor it, I’ve always said, they can vote for it,” Skelos told reporters as he headed into a meeting with Gov. Andrew Cuomo. “The only thing I’ve said all along is that the conference is going to make the decision as to the bill coming out on the floor.”

In 2009, Senate Democrats controlled the chamber, 32-30, and brought the same-sex marriage bill to a vote. It failed 24-38.

Skelos said then that his members could vote with their conscience and that they wouldn’t be held to a party-line vote. But that’s exactly how the vote played out then: none of the 30 Republicans voted for it.

And none of the current 32 Republicans have said publicly they are in favor of it.

Skelos said the conference would discuss whether to bring it to the floor for a vote tomorrow behind closed doors.

“We’re going to have a serious discussion about it. It’s a serious issue,” Skelos said. “Many lives are affected by it, emotionally and personally, and we’ll make the final decision.”

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