Gov. David Paterson Wants New York to Vote On Marriage. Does It Matter?

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It doesn’t matter if New York’s Senate doesn’t have the votes to pass gay marriage legislation — Gov. David Paterson wants the matter put to a vote anyhow.

Except that’s now how things work in New York’s Senate. Infamous for only putting up bills that will definitely pass, our Democratic-run legislature effectively already sent voters the message that same-sex marriage wouldn’t be on the docket this season.

Last month, we explained at length why — even with New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s support, and now Paterson’s — New York’s state senators wouldn’t be touching gay marriage legislation: Because in order for Sen. Malcolm Smith to become majority leader, he and the party had to make concessions to an annoyingly powerful “Gang Of Three,” one of which was backpeddling on their promise to pass marriage equality legislation.

But Paterson doesn’t care: “We’ll put a bill out and let the people decide one way or the other, which is actually the reform Albany really needs,” Paterson said, referring to the gay marriage bill. … Why can’t people just defeat the bill, vote on it? If you have the votes later on to pass it, bring it back.”

Of course, pushing for gays isn’t new to Paterson. He’s championed equal rights and demanded state agencies, while not required to recognize same-sex unions from New York couples, begin recognizing legal same-sex unions performed in other states.