Mayor Michael Bloomberg said on Thursday that he expected the bill that would legalize same-sex marriage in New York to pass as Republicans in Albany continued to discuss the issue behind closed doors.
Speaking during a press conference that followed a meeting with Republican Senators in Albany on Thursday, Bloomberg implored state Senators to "follow their hearts" and predicted lawmakers would look back at this moment as a historical highlight of their political careers.
"I think, in the end, when this bill comes to the floor, and I expect it to do so, it will pass with more than just the bare majority," Bloomberg said.
Bloomberg has become an outspoken proponent for marriage equality in New York State. He recently delivered a poignant, personal speech on the topic, in which he was introduced by his niece, who is openly gay.
Same-sex marriage advocates are only one vote away from the 32 needed to pass the bill once it is introduced on the Senate floor by Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos.
A number of Republicans have said they are "undecided" and advocates on both sides are lobbying them relentlessly. Bloomberg himself lends significant weight to the army, as he is a leading donor to Republicans in Albany.
The New York Conservative party — another leading supporter of Republicans in the state legislature — has vowed to remove support from any Senator who votes for the bill.
The contentious end of the legislative session has also become even more tangled by fights over a property-tax cap and the extension of rent regulation laws, which Senator Martin Golden said has complicated the fate of the gay marriage bill.
Bloomberg contended that the right of same-sex couples to marry is in line with conservative values: "This is something Republicans fight for every day," he said. "Keeping government out of areas they don't belong."