msnbc.com news services
updated 6/15/2011 2:16:28 PM ET 2011-06-15T18:16:28

A bill to legalize gay marriage in New York is in the hands of 32 Republican state senators meeting behind closed doors, and according to reports, the measure is just a single vote away from passage.

The Senate's Republican majority is meeting to determine if the bill will be brought to a floor vote by Friday as expected.

According to the New York Times, the measure gained precious momentum after a second Republican state senator came forward to support the bill.

Frustrated by the pressure he and fellow swing Republicans are facing, Sen. Roy J. McDonald of Saratoga offered a few blunt words for his critics.

"You might not like that. You might be very cynical about that. Well, f--- it, I don't care what you think. I'm trying to do the right thing," he explained in a statement to reporters.

"I’m tired of Republican, Democrat politics; I’m tired of blowhard radio people, blowhard television people, blowhard newspapers."

"They can take the job and shove it. I come from a blue-collar background, I’m trying to do the right thing, and that’s where I’m going with this."

Video: New York legalizing gay marriage? (on this page)

On Monday, Sen. James Alesi of Monroe County became the first Republican senator to throw his support behind the bill. In doing so, he joined three Senate Democrats who had previously voted against the measure, but who now said they supported the measure.

Speaking to reporters, the Rochester-area lawmaker said he apologized to gay rights advocates "for voting politically rather than in a way that in my heart and soul I felt I should have voted."

"What it really comes down to is one word: it's equality, which is a basic right of living in America."

Story: Judge overturns Calif. gay marriage ban

Senate Republicans led an effort to easily defeat a similar bill in 2009.

But enough Democratic and Republican senators have announced changes in their votes that there may now be a tie in the chamber.

At least two Republicans say they remain undecided.

The Rev. Duane Motley, who leads a conservative Christian group, says he thinks the Senate will reject the bill. According reports, 31 state senators from the 62-member, Republican-controlled legislature have thrown their support behind the measure.

The Assembly, controlled by Democrats, has voted in favor of same-sex marriage a number of times and is expected to do again.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo formally introduced the bill on Tuesday in both houses.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Video: New York legalizing gay marriage?

  1. Closed captioning of: New York legalizing gay marriage?

    >>> in tonight's rewrite, four senators including one particularly brave republican rewrite their position on gay marriage . no, not united states senators , new york state senators . three democrats moved from no to yes on gay marriage . senator shirley huntley . senator carl kruger and joseph adabo jr. have left only one democratic senator in new york still in opposition to gay marriage , where he will surely remain. he is reuben diaz of the bronx, a penocostal preacher. with one republican also changing his position, the new york state senate is now only two votes away from having a majority ready to vote in favor of gay marriage . those two votes will have to come from the republican side of the aisle. the hope that governor cuomo, who made same-sex marriage a personal and political priority can sway those two more republicans has increased dramatically since his meeting yesterday with republican senator james elessy when the senator informed the governor of his decision to change his position on gay marriage . speaking afterwards, the senator said according to "the new york times," that he had anguished over his earlier opposition and had apologized to gay rights advocates. for voting politically rather than in a way that in my heart and soul i felt i should have voted. what it really comes down to is one word. it's equality. it's a basic right of living in america . all of the senators who changed their positions said they were persuaded by discussing the issue with their senate colleagues and post importantly, with their constituents. senator adabo who represents parts of queens said just two years ago most of the constituents who contacted his office were opposed to same-sex marriage. but this year he got 4,839 calls and letters to his office supporting gay marriage and only 1,176 calls and letters against gay marriage . if you were one of the 4,839, you now know that your voice was heard. and if you live in new york or any other state considering gay marriage and you have not told your representatives how you feel about it, you are missing a chance to make your contribution to history. in new york , republican senators choosing to vote in favor of gay marriage is a particularly brave act. because the flitically influential conservative party in new york strongly opposed same sex marriage and can easily activate very powerful opposition to republicans who vote for it. that is what governor cuomo had in mind when he publicly called on albany republicans to, quote, vote your conscious not your fears. that is exactly what republican senator james elessey has decided to do.

    >> i'm voting my heart and my conscious and for me the virtues now are if you live in america and you want to be treated equally, you have to extent equality to other people as

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