Wednesday, December 02, 2009

New York Senate Rejects Gay Marriage

Even as New York is facing a monumental budget crisis, the legislature still managed to find the time to consider gay marriage legislation. Proponents figured that they had a shot of passage, but the State Senate surprised everyone with a resounding defeat of the measure.

It wasn't even close.

The 38-to-24 vote startled proponents of the bill and signaled that political momentum, at least right now, had shifted against same-sex marriage, even in heavily Democratic New York. It followed more than a year of lobbying by gay rights organizations, who steered close to $1 million into New York legislative races to boost support for the measure.

Senators who voted against the measure said the public was gripped by economic anxiety and remained uneasy about changing the state’s definition of marriage.

“Certainly this is an emotional issue and an important issue for many New Yorkers,” said Senator Tom Libous, the deputy Republican leader. “I just don’t think the majority care too much about it at this time because they’re out of work, they want to see the state reduce spending, and they are having a hard time making ends meet. And I don’t mean to sound callous, but that’s true.”

The defeat, which followed a stirring, tearful and at times very personal debate, all but ensures that the issue is dead in New York until at least 2011, when a new Legislature will be installed.

Since 2003, seven states, including three that border New York, have legalized same-sex marriage. But in two of the seven — California last year and Maine last month — statewide referendums have restricted marriage to straight couples, prohibiting gay nuptials. Pollsters say that while support generally is building for same-sex marriage, especially as the electorate ages, voters resist when they fear the issue is being pushed too fast.
So, how exactly did this measure fall in the Senate?

Here's the full roll call. Eight Democrats, Ruben Diaz Sr., Joseph Addabbo, Shirley Huntley, Darrel Aubertine, Carl Kruger, Hiram Monserrate, George Onorato and William Stachowski voted against the measure, along with all 30 Republicans.

This pretty much assures that the gay marriage issue will not come up until a new legislature is seated in 2011.

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