Tuesday, April 21, 2009

NY Same-Sex Marriage Bill Gets Some GOP Support

The relatively liberal State Assembly has been behind a bill to legalize same-sex marriage for quite a while now, but the more conservative State Senate has been holding up any progress...until now. There are signs in Albany that we just might possibly see a signed bill this year, in spite of protests from conservative Democrats. At least one Republican has signaled his support, a hint there may be more defections on the right coming down the pike.

From The Buffalo News:

Opponents believe that advocates of same-sex marriage will need to get at least four Republican senators to back the bill. “Even if we did know, we wouldn’t say,” Duane said of Senate Republicans who might cross party lines.

Senate Republicans say the issue, unlike the budget, is highly personal and will be up to rank-and-file lawmakers to decide on their own.

“I believe in traditional marriage,” said Sen. George D. Maziarz, R-Newfane.

But there are more liberal-leaning districts than the one Maziarz represents. “I probably will be making a public statement somewhere in the near future,” said Sen. James S. Alesi, a Monroe County Republican who represents part of Rochester. Insiders say he is one potential vote for the bill.

The Empire State Pride Agenda and Senator Tom Duane are quite confident that the bill will pass this year, even with some room to spare says Duane. This is fantastic news if it comes to fruition, though I have to say it is somewhat comical to hear Duane's enthusiasm after berating the governor two weeks ago for announcing his intention to deliver a bill to the Senate without having the votes at the time.

I have to credit Governor Paterson for bringing the issue up, even if it was to save his own political hide. The attention, along with developments in Vermont, Iowa and favorable polling here in the state has all combined to produce a hopeful outlook for increasing equal rights in New York. It is about time we see some progress on that front, so that we as a state can be a leader in this country just as Vermont, Maine and Massachusetts already are.