Groups like Tim Gill’s Fight Back New York might’ve helped oust a number of elected homophobes from the New York State Senate, but that doesn’t mean the work there is done. With the GOP retaking control of the chamber in January after a brief Democratic stint, a successful same-sex marriage vote is still the ultimate goal. And to have a successful vote there must be, well, a vote in the first place. Which is exactly what New York’s gay elite are working on.
Empire State Pride Agenda Executive Director Ross Levi, who took over when Alan van Capelle packed his bags, is ever the optimist — as all institutional gay activists are. (What lost hope?) He’s got some talking points for you to look at to convince you why 2011 is the year for New York’s marriage fight, but it boils down to this: Even with Republicans holding a 32-30 majority, Ross “believe[s] there is a clear and credible path to victory on LGBT issues this session.” Other folks, like sitting lawmakers, are justifiably more skeptical.
Somehow, with the GOP now in control, “we are sitting here today stronger, in stronger position, after the election than we were before,” insists Levi.
It comes down to numbers. Come January, there will be 14 new faces in the State Senate compared to a year ago, and advocates say they now have two more “yes” votes than before. That’s because even though three pro-gay marriage Democrats were ousted by Republicans, five “no” votes will flip to “yes” votes, including Queens Republican Frank Padavan and Buffalo Democrat William Stachowski. Gay rights advocates campaigned against both. “That I believe sends a very strong message to everybody in Albany, where they have to be thinking about whether they want the strength of the LGBT community turning to them in a negative way,” Levi said.
So having the GOP running the chamber is better for the ‘mos than Democrats having the majority? I was not aware that, in the march for LGBT equality, the Empire State Pride Agenda has adopted the thinking of the Log Cabin Republicans.