Bo Shuff

Maybe New York next?

Filed By Bo Shuff | April 10, 2009 1:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Marriage Equality, Politics
Tags: Gov Patterson, marriage, New York marriage equality, Ruben Diaz

Gov. Patterson from New York said yesterday on an Ithaca, NY, radio station that he intends to introduce a same-sex marriage bill similar to the one previously introduced by former Gov. Spitzer.

The only problem is, the Empire State isn't as welcoming as we would think.

First of all, we know that New York doesn't offer protections based on gender identity or expression in its non-discrimination law. Considering the number of companies based in New York that have these protections, as well as the solid control of the New York House and the new control of the New York Senate, this should already be done. In fact, it should have been done years ago.

But the question before us is marriage, and that road is no Sunday drive either. Based on the leadership of Rep. Danny O'Donnell, the marriage bill has passed the New York Assembly previously. Clearly, the Governor will sign it. The speed bump is the Senate. Previously that bump was caused by the Republican control of the Senate.

Now, however, it's being caused by a very small number of Democrats in the Senate who have said they will not allow it to a vote.

The reasons for this originally were:

  1. Too risky to the Governor heading into 2010.

  2. Have to pass the budget first.

  3. Sen. Ruben Diaz Sr. has placed his personal religious views ahead of the best interests of the state.

Reason one is gone. It is now the Governor's bill - no hiding from that.

Reason two is gone. Budget is done.

Reason three is infuriating. Sen. Diaz is a Pentecostal minister and it is widely believed that he and two of his colleagues in the New York Senate traded their votes on Majority Leader for the assurance that this bill wouldn't be brought up. Those three votes were the margin of victory for the Democrats and allowed them to take control of the Senate for the first time in years.

I wonder where the liberal wing of the party was - saying they wouldn't vote for the Majority Leader without assurances that there would be a vote on marriage equality.

Anyway, this decision is insanely short-sided. Not from a civil rights standpoint - which it is - but from an economic standpoint. New York State already recognizes marriages and civil unions performed in other jurisdictions. As more and more states start recognizing equality, New York only stands to lose the revenue both from licenses and from the revenue of the receptions.

So basically, Sen. Diaz is telling the state - even though our state is facing massive budget problems, even though we are losing jobs left and right, even though the majority of New Yorkers support relationship recognition, the views of my close-minded church trump that.

Sen. Diaz, I ask, would you at some point like to join the reality that is around you? I'd like to introduce you to Sen. Mike Gronstal of Iowa, I think he has some perspective you could gain from.

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Bill Perdue Bill Perdue | April 10, 2009 4:54 PM

The good governor is way, way down in the polls and needs a little something to polarize sentiment around himself.

He thinks SSM is it.

Aside from the fact that he's using us as a political football there's still the fact that Democratic (sic) bigots and Republican upstaters might outvote us.

If the Democrats actually had principles (and don't hold your breath on this one) they'd summarily expel anyone in their ranks who opposes the ungutted ENDA, tough hate crime and hate speech laws, and who supports DOMA, civil unions or DADT. And after expelling them they run against them in the next election.

That's called having principles and the Democrats don't. NY is one of those places where we should consider an independent GLBT party to run against the Democrats. Elections aren't meant to change things (they wouldn't occur if they were) but we can still use them as powerful tools to organize our communities, build alliances and educate others.

Usually the economic argument for same-sex marriage just annoys me, but in NY it's actually a good point. The state is already recognizing same-sex marriages performed elsewhere, so they don't really seem to have a problem with opening it up to us or funding the benefits that come with marriage for same-sex couples.

The only thing they're not allowing is the big party and the fee-to-be-paid. Sending those sorts of things to neighboring states (like, what, VT, CT, MA, and Canada?) is just insanity.