ALBANY, N.Y., June 15 (UPI) -- New York was poised to legalize same-sex marriage Wednesday after a second GOP state senator said he supported the measure, leaving it one vote shy of passage.
Sen. Roy McDonald's support brought the number of "yes" votes in the Republican-led state Senate to 31 out of 62 members.
"I'm tired of Republican, Democrat politics. I'm tired of blowhard radio people, blowhard television people, blowhard newspapers," McDonald, a Saratoga Republican, said. "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."
McDonald joined three Democrats and another Republican who had voted against gay marriage two years ago but promised this week to switch their votes.
Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo unveiled the legislation in both houses Tuesday -- a step he said he would not take unless he was confident of victory.
The Senate could take up the bill as early as Wednesday if Cuomo asks for a rushed vote, The Wall Street Journal reported.
Senate Republicans were to meet Wednesday to decide when to bring the bill for a vote. The New York Times said Republican leaders would likely bring the measure to the floor Friday.
The bill is expected to clear the Democratic-led Assembly, which has already voted for gay marriage multiple times.
If the vote passes, New York would be the sixth, and largest, state to legalize same-sex marriage, with the bill becoming law 30 days after Cuomo signs it.
State Conservative Party Chairman Michael Long, whose party strongly opposes the legislation, said any Republican who votes for same-sex marriage would lose conservative support.
To assuage Republican concerns, Cuomo's bill frees religious institutions from any obligation to solemnize or provide facilities for same-sex weddings. It also exempts religious charities and benevolent societies, such as the Knights of Columbus, the world's largest Catholic fraternal service organization, that object to gay marriage.
Unlike some other states, such as New Hampshire, the bill does not offer protections to individual objectors who work for religious organizations.
Roman Catholic Archbishop Timothy Dolan dismissed the protections as insufficient. And in a blog post he excoriated the measure, suggesting the bill was akin to something from China or North Korea, where central governments dictate "the very definition of 'family' and 'marriage.'"
And he said the bill tampered "with a definition as old as human reason and ordered good."
While saying his beliefs "should not be viewed as discrimination against homosexual people," he urged lawmakers not to cave to a "stampede" toward legalizing same-sex marriage.