Thursday, April 09, 2009

Gov. Paterson Now Pushing Same-Sex Marriage Bill

Governor Paterson, after months of making bad decision after bad decision, finally did something New York can be proud of. With so many momentous decisions being made on the matter of same-sex marriage across the country, Paterson is using the opportunity to make the state legislature here in New York stand up and take a position on the equal rights issue. The votes may not be all there but the very fact that he wants a vote without it being assured of passage is unheard of in our dysfunctional state capitol.

From The NY Daily News:

"Why can't people just defeat the bill, vote on it?" Paterson said. "If you have the votes later on to pass it, bring it back."

That's actually a bold statement from Albany. A constant criticism of the Legislature - as highlighted in a recent Daily News series, "State of Shame" - is that legislative leaders only put up bills that will pass.

The state Assembly has approved a gay marriage bill and Paterson promised to sign it if it's approved by the Senate.

Senate Majority Leader Malcolm Smith, a Queens Democrat, supports the gay marriage bill but has not allowed a vote because he thinks it will be defeated.

"This is an issue that demands much more than a symbolic gesture," Smith spokesman Austin Shafran said.

Smith shows he's operating out of a status quo mentality that is one of the defining problems in Albany. People want to see democracy on display, not manufactured, behind-the-scenes votes being brought out. That only reinforces the idea that backroom deals are the only way things work, when the possibility for real reform is just beyond that box Smith, Silver, (Paterson for the most part) and others like them live in.