Dating Liberty and Justice for All

Bruno Opposes Bill to Legalize Gay Marriage

ALBANY, May 1 — The Republican majority leader of the State Senate, Joseph L. Bruno, said on Tuesday that he would not support Gov. Eliot Spitzer’s proposed legislation to legalize same-sex marriage in New York.

His remarks came as thousands of gay rights supporters marched to the State Capitol to voice their support for the proposal and praise Governor Spitzer, who introduced the bill on Friday even as he conceded that it was unlikely to become law anytime soon.  Mr. Bruno has indicated his opposition to the bill in the past; his counterpart in the Assembly, Speaker Sheldon Silver, has taken no position on it.

Asked if gay rights advocates should expect him to support a measure legalizing same-sex marriage, Mr. Bruno said, “I think they ought to discuss that with the governor, since that is a priority of the governor, and not a priority in the Senate.”

He added that the Senate Republicans were focused on property tax rebates and instituting the death penalty in New York for killers of law enforcement officers.  Asked if he would support changing the law to allow for same-sex couples to marry, he said, “No, I would not.”

At least 61 members of the Assembly and 18 of the Senate have supported same-sex marriage bills in past years, though supporters in the Legislature say they expect more to back the governor’s version.

State Senator Thomas K. Duane, a Manhattan Democrat who has sponsored same-sex marriage legislation in the past, noted that Mr. Bruno had supported other gay rights measures and expressed hope that he would change his mind on same-sex marriage, too.  “He’s evolved, and I’m confident that he’s going to continue to evolve,” Mr. Duane said.