Religious Leaders Expect 2011 Battle Against Gay Marriage To Be Tougher

Evangelical, Roman Catholic and Orthodox Jewish leaders are intensifying efforts to block legalization of gay marriage in Albany this summer. They say gay marriage may be harder to defeat in 2011 than it was in 2009.

Dennis Poust of the New York State Catholic Conference says the vote will probably be closer this time around.

Two Democratic senators who voted against the bill in 2009 have been replaced by gay marriage supporters.

Gay rights groups have a star-studded cast of supporters like Former President Bill Clinton and Governor Andrew Cuomo, and campaigners say they intend to raise more than a million dollars for the campaign.

To Rev. Jason McGuire, executive director of New Yorkers for Constitutional Freedoms, that kind of money could swing some votes.

"I think the real question in 2011 will be whether or not you truly can buy votes in New York," said McGuire.

Opponents of same-sex marriage say they will need to ramp up to catch up.

"I think that it's undeniable that the other side has done a better job of getting their message out," said Poust, "and they've also done a really good job of portraying us as bigots and homophobes, which we absolutely, categorically reject." Poust says they simply believe marriage is between a man and a woman.

"That's not to say gay people can't be in love and have strong relationships," said Poust, "but it's a fundamentally different type of relationship because it's not a life-giving one. It doesn't have that potential, and so the state doesn't have the same interest in promoting it."

McGuire says polls showing a majority of New Yorkers are in favor of same-sex marriage offer only a "false sense of momentum." He says the numbers simply show his side needs to do more work in educating New Yorkers.

He says religious groups will be be camping in trailers across the state to rally opposition against gay marriage. They're calling the campaign the "May Day for Marriage RV Tour."