NEW YORK STATE -- With revenues on a continual decline, a stifling property tax burden and a still uncertain economy, Rochester Senator Jim Alesi says the last thing lawmakers should be focused on is gay marriage.
"This is absolute lunacy and we have to address these things with six weeks left to session. So I believe it is a distraction," Alesi said.
Even though he considers it a back-burner issue, it's been widely speculated that Alesi is one of the Republican Senators that will support the marriage equality bill, though he still won't say definitively.
"We here in the new minority have not been treated well,” said Alesi. "I'm not going to help Malcolm Smith make this decision by letting him know I'm going to vote so he can add up how many votes he has and doesn't have."
Help him out of a situation the Governor threw Senator Smith into. Paterson has insisted the gay marriage bill should be brought to the senate floor, regardless of whether the votes are there.
"He just needs to get himself some headlines to boost his ratings with some group or another," Alesi said.
Bill sponsor and openly gay Senator Tom Duane says simply this will be the year gay marriage becomes law in New York.
"The votes will be there and it's coming to the floor. The votes will be there. That's the way it's gonna be," Duane said.
"I've talked with Senator Duane and I respect him as a friend and as a senator, but we're doing different math,” Alsei said. “I just don't see that he has the votes."
There are several democratic senators that will vote the bill down, meaning Duane will need republicans to help make up the votes. He's still positive the tide is moving in his favor, saying soon, one or more republicans will show their cards.
"A lot of my colleagues particularly on the republican side of the aisle have been asking me a lot of questions. I think a lot of them are doing research into the issue and I take that as a very positive sign," said Duane.
Smith has said the bill won't reach the Senate floor unless the votes are there. Alesi says either way, now is not the time for New York and even the gay community.
"Really, it's a disservice because if the bill goes down in defeat, it probably won't come back again, not for a while. But what will come back is the projected deficits," Alesi said.
There are five weeks, but only 15 days left to session. The gay marriage bill has not left committee yet, though Duane says it will soon.