Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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December 2, 2009

MARRIAGE EQUALITY FAILS IN NEW YORK.... New York's state Assembly had already approved same-sex marriage this year, and Gov. David Paterson (D) was anxious to sign the measure into law. All that was necessary was the state Senate to pass the bill, and rumor it had the necessary number of Republican votes had already been lined up.

Indeed, it was poised to be a historic day in Albany -- right up until the chamber voted.

The State Senate defeated a bill on Wednesday that would legalize same-sex marriage, after an emotional debate that touched on civil rights, family and history. The vote means that the bill, pushed by Gov. David A. Paterson, is effectively dead for the year and destroys the optimism of gay rights advocates.

The bill was defeated by a decisive margin of 38 to 24. The Democrats, who have a bare, one-seat majority, did not have enough votes to pass the bill without some Republican support, but not a single Republican senator voted for the measure.

I'd heard as late as this morning that the votes really would be there, and that some GOP moderates would break ranks and support equality. It's unclear, at this point, whether a) Dems in the chamber are just bad at counting; b) some Republicans went back on their word, or c) a little of both.

Regardless, it's another civil rights setback, on the heels of last month's disappointment in Maine.

The arc of history is long, and it bends towards justice, but sometimes that bend isn't nearly as sharp as it should be.

Update: A Marist poll released today shows a majority of New Yorkers supporting legal, same-sex marriage.

Steve Benen 3:45 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (16)

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Even in New York, not a single Republican senator saw fit to vote for this bill, even though marriage equality is law on all three of the states on its eastern border, in Canada to the north and de facto in New York itself since New York recognizes same-sex marriages performed in other states (which was just affirmed by the New York supreme court).

The truth is that the arc doesn't bend to justice. It doesn't bend anywhere unless people do what is right. As far as gay rights is concerned, the United States is an absolute joke, having been surpassed by countries as unexpected as South Africa and soon Portugal is giving gays the ability to pursue happiness.

I really wonder that if the terrifyingly reactionary current version of the Republican Party gets back into power in a big way, that the arc, rather than bending toward justice, at least as far gays go, won't bend instead toward repression.

Mike Huckabee and gays, for example? Not exactly a match made in heaven.

Posted by: Jack on December 2, 2009 at 3:51 PM | PERMALINK

Father time is a liberal.

Posted by: RolloTomasi on December 2, 2009 at 4:00 PM | PERMALINK

Once again, the party of small government votes to let the government tell people what they can and can not do with their personal lives.

Posted by: Notorious P.A.T. on December 2, 2009 at 4:06 PM | PERMALINK

politicians are cowards. What do you expect ?

Posted by: rbe1 on December 2, 2009 at 4:07 PM | PERMALINK

Very sad day. My guess is it was close but when it didn't add up to passage off the record guys were allowed to go the other way. On another note, why are the depriving our economy of these weddings? It's not like NY doesn't recognize other states weddings. All those wealthy destination weddings in Vermont instead of Manhattan or the Hamptons!

Posted by: JM on December 2, 2009 at 4:24 PM | PERMALINK

Through out my entire life republicans have never ever stood for freedom or equality for anyone.

It's not surprising they would tell the majority of NY to f*ck off because it is always about them and never the American people.

Posted by: Silver Owl on December 2, 2009 at 4:31 PM | PERMALINK

Despite rants against "judicial activism" this is why most civil rights advances are won in the courts.

Posted by: howie on December 2, 2009 at 4:40 PM | PERMALINK

Fuckity fuck fuck. Man, I am so sick of this shit. Really. I think it's time we push for civil unions everywhere, knowing that eventually they would be converted into actual marriage rights. We need to push for marriage but be willing to settle for civil unions in the short term.

I've been with my partner for 10 and 1/2 years, we've been married for over 7. (Married non-legally in a wedding ceremony before friends and family in Maryland.) I'd love to be able to marry her legally, however, I'd settle for civil unions in the meantime.

Posted by: zoe kentucky in pittsburgh on December 2, 2009 at 4:46 PM | PERMALINK

[...] countries as unexpected as South Africa and soon Portugal is giving gays the ability to pursue happiness. -- Jack, @15:51

Didn't Spain also legalise gay marriage a couple of years back? That, to me, was the most surprising of all, since Spain is even more Catholic than Italy, Poland or Ireland...

Once again, the party of small government votes to let the government tell people what they can and can not do with their personal lives. -- Notorious P.A.T., @16:06

To me, they've always been less about "chicken in every pot" and more about "govt agent in every bed"

Posted by: exlibra on December 2, 2009 at 4:54 PM | PERMALINK

I am a New Yorker and a Demorcrat and I am ashamed of the New York State Senate. This shameful vote today is only the most recent and egregious reason for my shame. The task now is to overcome the rediculous Gerrymandering we have here and make those who voted no pay.

Posted by: robert on December 2, 2009 at 5:04 PM | PERMALINK

What kills me is that their opposition to gay marriage is based on religion. "Marriage is an institution sanctioned by God!"

My wife and I are atheists. And yet, no one tried to stop us from getting legally married.

Posted by: chrenson on December 2, 2009 at 5:18 PM | PERMALINK

I am also a New Yorker and a Democrat and I am ashamed. It was not only the Republicans, of which not a single one voted yes- it is also the 8 cowardly Democrats who voted no as well.

Addabbo, Aubertine, Diaz, Huntley, Kruger, Monserrate, Onorato, and Stachowski — voted no. And yes, that is Democrat Hiram Monserrate, famous for slashing his girlfriend’s face with a piece of broken glass. What a great guy with great morals.

I'm also sick of these Democrats posing as Progressive when they just vote the same way as Conservatives.

Posted by: eeeeeeeeeeeee on December 2, 2009 at 5:36 PM | PERMALINK

"The arc of history is long, and it bends towards justice..."

Depends upon the slice of time you're examining. Or how long you plan to live.

Posted by: beep52 on December 2, 2009 at 6:08 PM | PERMALINK

The only anti-marriage vote willing to publicly admit to his bigotry has promised to officiate the wedding of a convicted abuser who also voted against equality. Because violent thugs should be allowed to marry while loving couples are denied that right.

Posted by: James Probis on December 2, 2009 at 6:12 PM | PERMALINK

Support of the Lou Zhu, Lou Zhu worked hard
Nothing is impossible for a willing heart.
ugg bailey button
ugg classic cardy

Posted by: hanyu on December 3, 2009 at 2:27 AM | PERMALINK

38 - 24 against.
Dems have 1 vote margin.
Not a single Republican voted in favor.

Maybe if it had been a 32-30 vote, I'd be inclined to rake Republicans over the coals.
Fully 20% of the Democrats do not recognize every New Yorkers' right to the same access to legal contracts sponsored by the state and administered by those whose salaries are paid by those same citizens.

As a side note, it's a curious thing to see New York's GOP delegation adopt the Tom deLay approach of ham handed, no-dissent, lockstep, unanimous opposition given its track record of losing almost 30% of the US Senate's membership. (They used to have 55 Senators when Tommy-Boy was among them.) This method of management is self destructive anywhere outside Utah. Do they really think New York is going to be more receptive than the country in general?

Doubling down on fascism. The Conservative party has to be rubbing its collective hands together in glee.

Posted by: toowearyforoutrage on December 4, 2009 at 12:18 PM | PERMALINK



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