New York

Do Paterson & Bloomberg Actually Have a Shot at GOP Gay Marriage Votes?


When New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg said he would try to “influence” State Senate Republicans to get on board with Gov. David Paterson’s marriage equality legislation, many on the GOP’s side of the fence rolled their eyes. Though gay marriage supporter Bloomberg is a Republican-Independent, not even the Democratic-controlled Senate was fully on board with Paterson’s push, so what hope did he have to get Republicans on board?

Quite a bit, it turns out.

Democrats carry a 32-30 majority in the Senate, and four of them already said they would vote against the marriage bill. (Sen. Ruben Diaz, who caused this clusterfuck in the first place, is among them.) Which means Republican votes are required to get this thing passed.

But GOP leadership in New York is reportedly giving Senate Republicans the all clear to support Paterson’s measure with “conscience votes,” rather than sticking to party lines and voting against the bill as a group.

Which means Bloomberg’s effort — and Team Paterson’s — might actually have a chance of working.

Making things more interesting? It was only 2007 that GOP leadership demanded Republicans vote against a marriage equality bill when it was up for vote in the State Assembly.

And if our elected officials were to listen to constituents, which they claim to do, this would be an even easier debate: The latest poll shows 53 percent of New Yorkers think the Senate should pass Paterson’s marriage legislation; 39 percent do not.

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  • Topher

    I would be interested to find out if this is a gambit by the NY GOP to continue to stonewall true progress for marriage equality, but put a positive spin on it so they don’t seem like bigots. If they really want to win more seats (and potentially the Governor’s mansion) in the next election they cannot be perceived as far right and allowing members to “vote their conscience” could be just the thing to help them recast their image.
    I guess the proof will be in the pudding. Either some Republicans will cross the aisle and truly vote their conscience or they will all tow the party line, as planned, but call it voting their conscience.

  • Captain Freedom

    What if there are a few NONE VOTING?

    Nobody ever considers, but if I’m not mistaken by parliamentary procedures in most legislatures, a bill is considered passed so long as it gets more YEA than NAY. There is always a strong possibility that a few Republicans won’t show up in order to avoid controversy. This could very conceivably give the YEAs the advantage.

    My question, does this follow procedure? If it passes with less than 31 YEAs but still more YEAs than NAYs?

  • Bruno

    @Captain Freedom:

    Just guessing here, but I think a simple majority of those present is all that’s needed.

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