The NY general assembly has already passed same-sex marriage and governor Patterson has indicated that he would sign the bill, but it died in the Senate last year due to Republican opposition. The focus was on turning two of those state senate seats blue to get a Democratic majority in both houses for this session, and they pulled it off. But that isn't enough to get the bill through the senate, the NY Daily News reported late yesterday:
A bill to legalize same-sex marriage will not be brought to the floor of the Senate for a vote this year. Smith will announce that he does not believe the measure has sufficient votes to pass - a statement that is at this point undoubtedly true, although it's unclear how long that will last if, as Democrats are hoping, the prospect of being in the minority leads to mass GOP retirements.
The reasons floating around was that they didn't want to hurt the governor's reelection chances in 2010, that it was too controversial, etc. It's standard-issue Democratic talk, but it always amazes me that Republicans are always assumed to take one side on this issue, no matter how unpopular, and they never break ranks on these sorts of bills. Democrats, on the other hand, are always worried about looking to extreme or rocking the boat. They simply don't have the discipline that the Republicans do, meaning that simple majorities don't help queers. We need big 70 to 80% majorities to get anything passed, what with allies like these.
Digby has a theory about why Democrats always turn so well on their most loyal supporters (unsurprisingly, it starts and ends with them being inferior politicians):
For years liberals have allowed themselves to be cowed by the right (hell, they even turned the word itself into an epithet)and continue even to this day to apologize over and over again for their supposedly humiliating error of seeking equality for minorities and lifting people out of poverty, which is what apparently ruined everything.(Read Edsall's article for the full litany.) Those Beta members of the establishment who are on the leftish side are embarrassed by their associations with such losers and must go out of their way to separate themselves from them if they expect to be taken seriously --- in the wild Betas often brutalize the Omega worse than the Alphas do.[...]
The good Omega knows its place in the hierarchy and even respects its own debasement: it's all for the good of the pack. After all, the politicians all have to live together and work together and they need at least one thing they can all agree on.
While in her theory progressives are the omegas that the Democrats beat up on, I'd add the queers to that list. Obama didn't miss a beat when interviewed Rick Warren to tell us that God doesn't approve of same-sex relationships, Biden mentioned that his opposition to same-sex marriage was the only thing he agreed with Sarah Palin on, Kerry went out of his way to stress his opposition to gay rights, and Clinton campaigned for reelection on DOMA and DADT. And that doesn't even get into other LGBT issues, which will be held up in the Congress by a groups of Democrats who would hate to be labeled as "liberal" because they tried to pass labor legislation ban firing LGBT people based on their sexuality or gender.
The left, sure, they get their choice words, often labeled as immature, idealistic, naive, smelly hippies, but eventually Democrats will have to remember the horse they rode in on. As digby said, they beat up on the stereotypical image of liberals, like Code Pink, not necessarily the policy that they're pushing for.
The queers, on the other hand, we don't hold the same sort of political power that the left does, either in terms of votes or money. Democrats, really, have no reason to follow through on any of their promises to us except when it's perfectly safe. Even then, well, they might still try to prove their centrist or religious creds by beating up on us, or at least ignoring our issues.
This isn't a "we're the only minority that can be publicly maligned anymore" argument, because that simply isn't true. But we are a major political constituency that can be thrown to the wolves, so to speak, and get on the receiving end of that regularly, no matter how well our rights are polling, just so that Democrats can prove that they are perfectly willing to let the boat go unshaken. As the beta politicians, they have to prove themselves to the alphas, and show that they're all really on the same side when it comes to the omegas. If they actually were in charge, they'd have the discipline to push through their ideology, and the Religious Right would be the object of collective scorn (which is becoming a more and more unpalatable group, especially in coastal states like New York). But that's not the way the game is set up.
In this case, we were one of the sacrificial lambs in NY. I'm doubting that, even if Democrats keep the NY senate after 2010, that this will be on the table.
There's still no word on GENDA, which was in the same position as same-sex marriage in NY (passed general assembly, governor promised to sign it, senate Republicans refused to take action on it). So there's still hope on that front.
A Facebook group has been created to fight this.