Political Games

Bloomberg Wants Gay Marriage. Too Bad

NYC Transit Woes

Even though New York’s state senators simply don’t think the time is right to make a move toward gay marriage, Mayor Michael Bloomberg says he’s ready to roll out his own red carpet to insist the legislation gets passed. Again. Too bad he’s got no pull.

Bloomberg has been telling Albany for years that he wants equal rights instituted, but his calls fall on deaf ears. Last night at the annual dinner for the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Community Center in New York City, he reiterated his stance: “We see that the tide is turning, that support is mounting … Make no mistake, the time will come … and we will pass this bill.”

It’s a worthy effort, but right now it’s just lip service, since the legislators responsible for making this happen won’t touch the issue. How come?

In a word: politics.

In 2008, New York’s Democratic state senators promised that if they won control of the Senate, they would legalize gay marriage. They lied — but it’s not as simple as that.

One excuse some senators are using for not taking up the measure is the upcoming election for Gov. David Paterson. Appointed to the post after Gov. Eliot Spitzer resigned, Paterson must run in the 2010 election, which means convincing upstate (and generally more conservative) voters that he’s their man. Senators fear legalizing gay marriage could harm Paterson’s chances of currying good favor with upsate. Except that’s a leaky argument: Paterson has repeatedly gone on record as a gay rights advocate, calling for full gay marriage equality. If senators legalized gay marriage, it wouldn’t be a signal that Paterson is too liberal; rather, that he’s a man who gets shit done in Albany.

State of State

So here’s the real reason New York doesn’t have gay marriage rights: Our elected leaders (yes, the Democratic ones) used the issue as currency in a power grab.

It all had to do with the Democratic party’s choice of make Sen. Malcolm Smith of Queens their leader in the senate, a first for Democrats in 40 years of New York politics. Except the “Gang of Three” — Sen. Carl Kruger of Brooklyn, Sen. Rubén Díaz Sr. of the Bronx, and brand new Sen. Pedro Espada Jr. (pictured L-R) — warned they would withhold their vote to elevate Smith to majority leader unless they got something in return. Namely, power, in the form of committee leadership positions. In December, they finally reached an agreement:

Several people involved with the negotiations said that, under the agreement, Democrats would separate the jobs of Senate president pro tempore and Senate majority leader, which have traditionally been held by the same person.

Mr. Smith would be elected president pro tempore, a constitutional office that makes him the chamber’s leader. Mr. Espada would be elected to what would be the subordinate post of majority leader and appointed vice chairman of the Rules Committee, which must approve all legislation that goes through the Senate. The agreement makes Mr. Espada arguably the most influential Hispanic elected official in New York.

And while that agreement briefly fell through, all sides came to the table to finally appoint Smith as majority leader. But what concession did Smith make to the Gang of Three? To keep a vote on gay marriage off the table, as specifically demanded by Sen. Diaz, who doesn’t want it.

And there you have it. Bloomberg can talk at length about the need for equal rights in New York, but it won’t accomplish anything. That’s because our elected officials traded equal rights for power plays, and we’re the ones who suffer.

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16 Comments

  • Attmay

    Keep telling me why they’re better than Republicans. I’ll keep reminding you of this.

  • Jaroslaw

    Oh Attmay – yes the Dems are turds too but they are not nearly as hateful and duplicitous as Republicans. Read this post regularly, you’ll see.

  • Attmay

    I say they both need to be obliterated unless they start dancing to OUR tune NOW.

  • Sam Ritchie

    This rumor of Smith selling out the gays for the leadership position has been making the rounds for awhile now. I’ve yet to see any proof that it’s true.

    That said, if it is, I’m gonna be hella pissed and so are a lot of other people. My partner and I spent the week before the election working to pick up a Dem Senate seat in Queens. The crowd of volunteers in that office was gayer than the audience at a Cher concert. And I know some of the rich political gays (rhymes with “Gym Still”) poured a bunch of cash into close races.

    If the LGBT community put in this much money, time and effort to get Dems elected to the leadership – all on a promise that this would mean we’d get trans anti-discrimination protections, a school anti-bullying bill and marriage equality – only to get sold out by the folks we put in power, then next time around we need to unelect them. We can’t keep going down the road of “oh please, pretty please won’t you help us.” We need to unleash the whoop ass on those who don’t. Starting with Diaz Sr., Kruger and Espada.

  • Cheesehead

    When Brad Pitt makes vague statements about how he supports same-sex marriage people on this site, commenters and editors alike, bow and scrape and talk about how wonderful it is that he took a risk to speak out for equality but when Mayor Bloomberg does the same we’re told that it’s empty and unimportant.

    Bloomberg may yet run for governor. Let’s see how unimportant his position on same-sex marriage is then.

  • Attmay

    @Sam Ritchie: Way ahead of you on that.

  • Jeff in Silver Lake

    Well, let’s get a few more of those GOP senators OUT of office next year then Diaz can go f— himself.

  • CHIP

    And run qualified, pro-lgbt candidates against the Gang of Three…so when they lose, those ethics violation investigations they are currently dealing with can send them off to prison!

  • HYHYBT

    ‘Our elected leaders (yes, the Democratic ones) used the issue as currency in a power grab.’ In other news, water is wet.

  • Captain Freedom

    Ruben Diaz is a rat. No, better yet, he is a GERBIL. He is a gerbil that got stuck crawling up the ulcerous ass of the Evangelical Movement and Pat Robertson. He is a bottom dweller in every sense of the word. These other two rats are the scum of the scum.

    Quite frankly, I am shocked that there hasn’t been a recall election yet against all three of these guys. Ruben Diaz represents the Bronx and I need not lecture you all on how liberal/gay the Bronx is. Ruben Diaz quite frankly deserves the most negative attack campaign of any politician in NY State. He deserves slash and burn.

    He represents the fascists of our society. He blabbers on about what a proud Latino he is but in reality he is nothing but a bottom-boy for the white Christian redneck agenda posing as a diverse advocate.

  • Jaroslaw

    Meant to ask this before – since when does the Mayor of NYC have no pull? And if so, why is this?

  • bigjake75

    As i commented in the Obama Budget post…none of these politicians can be trusted. They crave power more than any other thing. Please do not give any elected official, R, D, or other, any wiggle room when it comes to our rights as Americans…any of our rights. You are either for liberty or against it. On this there is no gray. Read the constitution, where is the gray?? It ensures our liberty and restricts the government…notice how all that happens today is we get restricted and the government grows and grows???

  • Arlen Rothberg

    Islam coming to a neighborhood near you soon!!!!

    HATE preacher Anjem Choudary is being probed by cops after demanding gays are stoned to death.
    Met officers are discussing with lawyers whether there are grounds to charge him.

    And senior police sources say they are certain they will get the go-ahead to prosecute.

    It comes after The Sun this week demanded hatemonger Choudary, 41, face the law.

    Cops have received a string of complaints over his vile remarks.

    A Met spokesman said they were being “assessed”. A police source said: “We are taking legal advice on whether there is anything he can be prosecuted for, but we anticipate a full inquiry.”

    Dad-of-three Choudary — former right-hand man of exiled fanatic Omar Bakri Mohammed — called for Sharia law in Britain.

    He told a press conference in Chingford, East London, that adulterers and gays would be stoned to death under the regime.

    And the firebrand said Business Secretary Lord Mandelson would be among those executed.

    Dole-claiming Choudary, who also organised the sick Luton protests against soldiers returning from Iraq, could be prosecuted under the 1986 Public Order Act.

    It outlaws behaviour intending to cause harassment, alarm or distress — and is punishable with up to six months’ jail and a £5,000 fine.

  • Ali

    Well, WTF are people waiting for? Swarm these people out in a nomination race and make it ugly.

    If they play more hardball than us, of course we’re going to lose.

    Why are people idealistically thinking that politicians will do the right thing because it’s right? Politicians don’t do anything unless the consequences of NOT doing it are more negative.

    Change the consequences.

  • Paul Schroeder

    Post: Bloomberg’s tyrannical rule of NYC Education

    Paul Schroeder

    Posted on 10/16/09

    Overcrowded Classes

    As a teacher in NYC for over 35 years, I’ve noted that
    teacher morale is at a new low. For one reason, it is
    virtually impossible to manage and educate grossly
    overcrowded classes. (what DO you say to yourself, looking
    at a class of over forty pupils; “I shall give that child
    one minute of attention and that pupil four minutes and
    that one thirty seconds?). Having nearly forty pupils or
    more per class in a high school setting nullifies the
    individualized attention often needed for pupil success.

    Monsters in Suits

    In addition, administrators except in rare cases seem
    predominately and uniquely unqualified to administrate the
    teaching of teachers. They have been trained specifically
    in only one regard and that is to perceive administration
    as the use of gross and harsh bullying tactics towards
    teachers often using tactics that we as teachers would come
    under fire for if they were used in our own classroom
    management. Administrators are also uniformly the poorest
    role models for new and even seasoned teachers as they
    unerringly conduct inane, tedious and boring faculty
    meetings and teacher training workshops lessons that would
    surely fail in the classroom and quickly lose our pupil’s
    interests if we endeavored to employ them.

    A Failing System with 50% Dropout Statistics

    The insoluble problems to New York City education persist
    in badly outdated curriculum, crumbling school
    infrastructures, an a priori pupil ennui, widespread
    parental carelessness and untrained and inept assistant
    principals and principals who are unprofessional as well as
    untrained except in a new tactic of widespead mean –
    spiritedness.These principals are taught in closed
    workshops and secretly encouraged by the Mayor’s office and
    the Chancellor’s office to rule by such bullying. Under the
    Mayor’s new total control, these principals have new found
    medieval powers over teachers in the New York City
    educational system.

    Bully Tactics

    A teacher interviewed by me recently had spent many months
    in a rubber room after being falsely and unfairly accused
    of insubordination by such an unscrupulous principal. And
    this, after 27 years of unblemished service. Removed from
    the classroom and sent to Linden place in Queens he was
    suddenly aloft and facing pending charges, sent to a
    holding cell crowded with teachers from all walks, also
    charged with similar frivolous and goofy charges. It was
    truly a illegal detention of a professional Union.

    Like a Fish Out Of Water

    The psychological damage of sudden detention for months and
    for some, years, in a crowded holding pen with dozens more,
    locked in a rubber room, with many more such rooms hidden
    away around the city, did enough damage to those around
    him, all accomplished and dedicated teachers.This daily
    inglorious restraint destroyed all of his teaching muscles
    and challenged his morale. Eventually, it forced him and
    other senior teachers to resign. “We can make these charges
    all go away,if you resign”, is what DOE attorney Fox told
    him and others; where’s the due process in that?

    Guilty Before Proven Unfairly Guilty

    These suddenly burgeoning rubber rooms are illegal
    violations of Civil Liberties and due process. He observed
    that swift fair adjudication and fair treatment was given
    to much younger teachers accused of similar charges.They
    didn’t languish for long months or years for adjudication
    that strove to prove them guilty; it was odd that younger
    teachers were treated fairly. Senior teachers as a group
    were forced out; could this reflect a systemic move by the
    State Legislature and State Senate to balance the State
    budget by removing senior staff everywhere, or is this
    Mayor Bloomberg’s rancor at the UFT? These teachers have
    been abandoned by their union and are forced into a
    semblance and a cynical facsimile of due process.

    865 teachers awaiting charges

    Whoever has ordered this sudden unfair treatment that
    bounces teachers antiseptically from schools into “rubber
    rooms” and paints them all with the same punitive brush has
    doubled the rosters of detained and tightly corralled
    teachers for similar charges of insubordination.This is
    unprecedented in the history of New York City.
    The injustices abound. When ‘troublesome’ teacher’s
    classroom lessons are observed,assistant principals watch
    with ‘unfriendly eyes’ and the observation reports are
    twisted into”unsatisfactory” ratings by these vendetta
    seeking A.P.s and power crazed principals,perverting the
    observation ‘tool’,itself, into just another weapon in
    their unscrupulous hands.Teachers are left unable to defend
    themselves against the lies and distortions purposefully
    put into those’reports.’

    Bloomberg’s fascism

    Why does the teacher’s union, the UFT, allow these rooms to
    exist and persist? No other so-called professional Union
    would tolerate such treatment of its members. But
    principals continue to remove teachers who show any
    personal unionized initiatives in questioning principals or
    their new bullying tactics and clearly the blame rests at
    the Mayor’s door.
    (Bloomberg will likely be re-elected as the public knows
    nothing of his fascist inklings. His evil, behind the
    scenes regime against teachers will continue to gut the
    UFT.)

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