A group of conservative New York State Democratic Senators, dubbed the “Gang of Four” are threatening to withhold support for Sen. Malcolm Smith as Senate Leader unless a clear signal is sent that no gay marriage legislation will be allowed to get to the floor of the legislature.Â In a statement released on word that one of the “gangs” members, Sen.-elect Hiram Monserrate had decided to support Smith, Sen. Ruben Diaz of the Bronx said:
â€œIf Senator-elect Hiram Monserrate has made a decision in Puerto Rico to endorse Senator Malcolm Smith, that is his decision. I have not made a decision yet and hope the others have not either. I have not committed myself to anybody, and my position as an ordained minister and a pastor will not allow e to support any would-be leader that will bring gay marriage to the Senate floor.
â€œThis is nothing new. Mr. Smith and all my colleagues have known my position for more than a year. That does not make me a Republican. Where is it written that in order to be aÂ Democrat you have to suport gay marriage? And where is it written that if you do not support gay marriage you are not a good Democrat? I have always been aÂ Democrat. I remain a Democrat, and I will continue to be a Democrat. A Democrat who rejects gay marriage and abortion basedÂ upon my beliefs.â€
Sen. Carl Kruger of Brooklyn and Sen.-elect Pedro Espada of the Bronx are the other two members of the group.