Note from Bil: Rev Emily Heath is spending the day in Albany to monitor New York's proposed legislation to legalize marriage equality. She'll be sending in dispatches throughout the day and this post will be updated as news comes in.
9:45am - Just arrived at the Capitol. There are already some opposition members in the hall outside the chamber holding signs. Queer Rising is here. Last night they placed their signs outside the door of the gallery last night, and when they came out they were gone.
Sen. Skelos just came out and said they are still arguing language on rent control. He brushed off questions on marriage.
We need people here. We are outnumbered by a very vocal and present minority.
Please forgive iPhone brevity.
9:54am - A 9 year old supporter: Going to face anti-equality folks alone. We need a presence.
More updates and photos after the break.
9:55am - Opposition forming gauntlet to Senate chambers.
9:58am - On the little girl: By alone, I mean with one adult. She had supervision.
10:15am - A man we believe was a Senate Sgt. at Arms just came out, waved to anti-equality folks and made music conducting motions with his hands in support of them.
10:23am - Singing and preaching continues. The pastor who accosted me in the hall on Monday is leading them.
Tea Party folks just arrived. More of our folks are coming. Skelos read my sign aloud as he passed, in a flat tone: "Christian clergy for equality". No sense of what he thought.
10:48am - Chants of "gay, straight, black or white, marriage is a civil right" being met with "no way". You be the judge of what they mean.
11:18am - Anti-gay protesters actively and angrily engaging us today. One man asked my church affiliation. When I said, "United Church of Christ" he said, "I thought you were the good Christians." I replied, "We are." Later he told me I wasn't a good Christian and should study my Bible. The irony is I did for three years in seminary in the original languages and under pre-eminent scholars, and never heard a thing about equal marriage. He just came up to me, put his hands on me and asked, "Why are you singing with (the gay folks) if you're a Christian." I told him to please stop coming up to me, and he came back again.
The same man who angrily challenged me the other day confronted a seminarian and told her she would be judged for being a false prophet.
Earlier this week a 9 year old daughter of an ally was being photographed repeatedly.
Troopers say they can do nothing about protesters following us, touching us, etc. unless there is a direct physical threat.
11:30am - Just heard they are still negotiating internally.
Coalition of groups working for equality have sent flowers to supportive senators and are giving them to pro-equality protesters.
Protests are intense. For perspective, I was at the Georgia Capitol on the day they voted to remove the Confederate emblem from the state flag, and it wasn't even close to this.
11:38am - Audra McDonald is here from "Private Practice" and is giving eloquent interviews in support of us. "We are not asking them to believe any different. We are just asking them to respect our rights.
Mario Batali is also here giving supportive interviews.
11:45am - Word is Republican swing votes are in conference now.
12:02pm - I just heard some staff from equality groups talking about going back to their hotels, and now we are hearing murmurs of "tomorrow". Apparently the bill is not on the active calendar for today. Also hearing that Skelos wants to wrap things up. Trying to find out.
12:11pm - The pastor who has been so aggressive with me is now holding a sign saying, "God can heal the homosexual. He healed me."
12:27pm - Senate is standing at ease. Some say vote may come today. Others are giving up hope.
In other news, NY Senate just declares today "State Onion Day".
12:44pm - We are hearing "late tonight, if at all".
1:13pm - Ruben Diaz is leading what is being termed as a "revival" on 3rd floor. Rules committee meeting in about an hour.
1:30pm - Not much new to report. I asked a friend who is from Mass. if these rallies were as scary as the ones there during that vote. She said, "Worse."
2:12pm - Word is Skelos, Silver and Cuomo are in caucus now. No word on what.
2:52pm - Chants of "Vote today!", but no word.
2:59pm - Word is spreading that the Senate now has the necessary 32 votes. The issue now is getting it to a vote. Call Skelos now!
3:08pm - There is a rumor we have the 32nd vote. Not sure how accurate yet. If we do, the issue is getting it to a vote.
3:12pm - A whole bunch of troopers just filled the halls.
3:43pm - Multiple but unverified reports that we have the votes, and possibly a surplus. There are predictions of a late night vote. Please call Skelos and ask him to bring it to a vote. (518) 455-3171
4:00pm - Protesters on both sides taking a break. I think we are gearing up for a long night.
4:13pm - Very important: Equality groups have received word that the vote is last on the agenda tonight. Anti-equality folks are preparing to send busloads here. If you can get to Albany, come now!
4:13pm - The fear now is that the GOP will try to kill the bill and not have a vote. We are also hearing that they are not revealing the 32nd vote yet because they are trying to get commitments from one or two other Republicans to vote "yes". That way no one will become the primary target of opponents.
5:36pm - Hearing conflicting reports from different groups. One was confident of vote tonight. The other insists they haven't heard anything.
6:03pm - NY Senate is at ease. GOP conference at 6:15, Rules at 7:30, Senate won't reconvene until after that.
6:16pm - We are hearing Gov. Cuomo will give an update at 6:45pm.
6:39pm - Everything is rumors right now. What I know for sure from NY Senate: it is not officially on the agenda yet. It may be on Rules'.
6:48pm - Cuomo: "cautiously optimistic". Same as yesterday.
7:02pm - I'm not sure how gay marriage kills...
7:11pm - All I keep hearing is "take all rumors with a grain of salt". I can say many staff members on both sides are getting hotel rooms tonight.
7:31pm - Just saw Sen. Diaz go into the Minority Leader's office. Not sure what's up. Could just be having dinner? Could be something more.
7:44pm - We are hearing no vote tonight.
8:00pm - Apparently they have to get the bills printed for the rent and tax vote. Marriage equality will come after that, if at all.
9:00pm - Queer Rising is reporting that the bill made it out of the Rules Committee. Awaiting confirmation.
9:05pm - It looks to me like what came out of Rules was a session extender, not the marriage bill.
9:23pm - Senate is going into rules committee. This may be the last rules meeting.
9:38pm - Senate saying that marriage bill is not currently even on the Rules Committee agenda. It doesn't mean it won't be, but that's where it stands. State equality groups are saying that the fight will continue tomorrow.