ALBANY — A decision on whether a vote will be held on same-sex marriage appears to be at hand.
The State Senate majority leader, Dean G. Skelos, said Thursday morning that his Republican caucus would meet during the day to discuss the issue of gay marriage. The meeting would be the first time the caucus has fully discussed issue this week.
“This will be decided by the conference, when they’re going to bring it out,” Mr. Skelos said of the marriage legislation. “I expect it will be a lengthy conference, a thoughtful conference.”
Several state senators and Senate staff members have said in recent days that the Republicans needed one more caucus meeting to decide whether to allow a vote on the marriage issue. Same-sex marriage is opposed by a large majority of the Republican caucus, but the caucus is torn over whether to allow a vote in the Senate, knowing it could pass with a combination of Democratic and Republican votes.
The same-sex marriage proposal was introduced by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, and has already been approved by the state’s Assembly.
An important caveat: In Albany at the frantic end of a legislative session, commitments by lawmakers to do something at a certain time have a way of unraveling, so it remains to be seen whether the decision actually comes Thursday. Mr. Cuomo and legislative leaders have yet to put the finishing touches on some weighty issues that they hoped to finish before taking up the marriage issue, notably a cap on property tax increases and an extension and bolstering of rent regulations.
But Mr. Skelos was fairly definitive in his comments about marriage Thursday morning, and said the other legislative matters were “on track.”
Could the decision on marriage come after midnight?
“We’re not going to work under time constraints,” Mr. Skelos said. “We’ll do it when the conference is ready.”
It remains unclear whether the marriage measure would pass or fail in a Senate vote. At present, there are 31 senators openly supporting the measure, one vote shy of the 32 needed to pass a bill. The supporters include 29 of the 30 Senate Democrats and 2 of the 32 Senate Republicans. Several other Republican senators have said they remain undecided.