BAD COP, WORSE COP

Is NY Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos Trying To Sabotage The Marriage Vote?

We took our own advice and called New York Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos, as he’s the only one who can bring the marriage bill to a vote. And instead of a human, we got this lovely message:

“The person with which you wish to speak does not have enough available space in his or her mailbox.”

Which got us wondering… has Senator Skelos stopped taking calls because he’s already decided what to do?

Has Skelos decided to take the fall for the entire Republican caucus and simply not bring marriage equality to a vote? In all the closed-door sessions of late, a Republican operative could have assured Skelos that he’ll be taken care of after his stint in the Senate if he can just stall marriage for two more years.

The way we can see it playing out is that the Senate Leader could say the agenda was too busy with other business, that the bill had genuine Republican support behind it (and thus, his inaction wasn’t a partisan maneuver), and that the fault lies squarely with him and not the other GOP senators who still need your vote—especially if you support marriage equality.

It’s seedy and speculative. Plus, it might be a bad play as our source on the ground in NY says: Republicans lost three senate seats in the last election and with Obama and Senator Kirsten Gillibrand sure to win the state in 2012, the GOP could lose even more seats in their predominantly Democratic districts for blocking a progressive vote. Throw in the HRC, Empire State Pride, and Fight Back NY’s support in 2012 and the Republican senators would be toast.

Queerty’s source says:

“Skelos is in a tight place, but a clear and rational look at what’s best for his party is to take this issue off the table in the next cycle, so Democrats can’t use it to campaign against them (with 58% of the state supporting this, and much higher with Democrats and Indepdents). Marriage equality in New York is inevitable, they might as well bite the bullet now, rather than bite it all in 2012.”

But even still, there’s plenty of money to be made if Skelos does block the vote and then takes the fall for it. Churches and anti-gay organizations looking to paint themselves as “defenders of marriage” can continue filling their coffers for another battle in two years, money they could feasibly filter into Minnesota in anticipation of the state’s upcoming marriage battle.