After listening to Senate Democratic Conference Leader John Sampson explain why bills like the Farm Workers Bill of Rights should be allowed to come to the floor for a debate and eventual vote even if it’s clear they don’t have sufficient support to pass – “This is about democracy!” – I asked if he would commit to bringing the gay marriage bill back to the floor in 2011.

The answer he gave is not likely to please LGBT advocates who are pushing hard to re-shape the Democratic conference in hopes of ousting some of the eight members who voted “no” along with the Republicans.

Here’s part of our exchange:

Sampson: “This is what the Senate Democrats are about. We’re not about bottling up legislation for not only years, but for decades. Take, for example, domestic workers. Take, for example, the no-fault divorce, which was bottled up, didn’t see the light of day. Those two pieces of legislation did not see the light of day.”

LB: “But they passed, those two pieces of legislation.”

Sampson: “But Liz, why didn’t the pass in 2008, 2007, 2006? …They didn’t bring it to the floor. Bring it to the floor for a vote.”

LB: “…Will you commit now to bring gay marriage to the floor, assuming that you’re still in charge after January 1?”

Sampson: “With all due respect Liz, we will be in the majority next year. With all due respect, I brought it to the floor last year. Once again I will go through our conference and we will do what is appropriate.”

UPDATE: Sampson spokesman Austin Shafran e-mailed a post-interview statement reiterating the senator’s support of same-sex marriage. It appears after the jump.

“There was and is support for marriage equality in our conference and Senator Sampson will not stop working until it becomes reality in New York,” Shafran said.