Assemblyman Dov Hikind (D-Brooklyn), an unwavering opponent of same gender marriage, said today he does not believe the votes needed to pass the same-gender marriage bill in New York State are available in the Assembly. According to Hikind, the bill, which passed the Assembly twice before, with the most recent vote of 89-52 in 2009, is “not a done deal.”
“There has been much talk in recent weeks about strategy in the Senate, about ensuring there are enough votes to pass the [same gender] marriage bill there,” Hikind said. “Quite frankly, a cursory analysis shows that there may not even be enough votes to pass it this time around in the Assembly given the freshman class and recent vacancies. The fight is still very much alive.”
Only 76 votes are required to pass a bill in the Assembly. Four seats, previously held by Assembly members Audrey Pheffer, Nettie Mayersohn, RoAnn Destito, and Darryl Towns, are now vacant. All of these former members previously cast a vote in favor of same gender marriage. The 2010 elections also resulted in an increase of Republicans in the Assembly chamber, most of whom are expected to vote against the measure.
“When you do the math, the numbers just aren’t there,” explained Hikind. “The Assembly vote should not be taken for granted. In numerous conversations with my colleagues, it’s become clear that there has been a shift in the Assembly on this issue. Even if the bill did pass in the Assembly, it would be by a very narrow margin, which is hardly a victory for the [same gender] community.”
Hikind is urging his colleagues to vote their conscience and not be influenced by political considerations or polling. “It is equally important,” Hikind noted, “for constituents throughout New York State to contact their Assembly representatives and make their opposition to this bill known.”