waiting room

New York Senate Gets Its Crap Together, Just In Time to Ignore Marriage


Hey, so maybe you heard the New York State Senate was finally back in order? Sort of? Gov. David Paterson appointed himself a lieutenant governor, and then Democratic defector Sen. Pedro Espada Jr. left the arms of Republicans for his old haunt — but only because they gave him the post of majority leader (in a backdoor kind of way)! It puts the Dems back in the majority, thirty-one days after New York’s elected officials began acting like third graders who won’t share during recess. Great. But: What’s the status of same-sex marriage?

Sorry, pals, but not this time. Though the Senate will continue meeting to pass much-needed legislation (like, uh, budgets and stuff), gay marriage is off the table. Scheduling conflicts or some such.

Sen. Thomas Duane, who’s been leading the marriage effort, clues us in via statement:

The month long stalemate in the Senate has ended. I am pleased that the Democratic Conference remains, as they were elected to be, in the majority. It is now time for the Senate to get back to work.

The June 8th coup was a painful and disturbing moment in the history of the Senate. Members’ emotions are raw, feelings are hurt and trust is lost. It will take time for these wounds to heal. As a result, I expect that the Senate this week will pass only time-sensitive, non-controversial legislation.

As disappointing as it is to admit, it is clear that this week is not the right moment for same-sex marriage legislation. Senators need some time and distance to regroup after this month’s partisan-charged and explosive atmosphere. Before June 8th, Senators from both sides of the aisle committed to me that they would vote for marriage equality. I still believe this to be the case. However, as I have said many times this session, I will not gamble when civil rights are at stake. If this means a short delay in order for marriage to become law it is well worth the wait.

I will not be put off for long. I am 100% committed to passing legislation crucial to the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) community. Our safety and civil rights must be enshrined into law.

During the weeks and months ahead the Senate will be called back to Albany to deal with a range of issues that are extremely important to me and that impact the lives of all New Yorkers. I will fight for and demand, with bipartisan support, that bills important to the LGBT community come to the floor for a vote – and pass.

The June 8th coup may have delayed equality, but it will not stop it.

Undoubtedly, Duane is an ally here. But we’re certainly going to hear from folks who think he’s given up too easily. While Duane says he won’t “gamble when civil rights are at stake,” there’s nothing to prevent him from lobbying his colleagues to vote on civil rights (CIVIL RIGHTS!!!) and, if it doesn’t pass, then decide to bring it up next time around.

In just a few hours late last night, the Senate managed to pass 135 bills. None of them had anything to do with our rights.