Monday, April 20, 2009

Smith Stands Up To Paterson And Democracy On Same-Sex Marriage Vote

Majority Leader Malcolm Smith isn't against passing a bill legalizing same-sex marriage, but he wants it done his way, the "Albany" way. Paterson is trying to bring the bill to the Legislature even if it won't pass this time around. While the Governor may be doing it to redeem his popularity before the 2010 election, the importance of the issue is far greater than Paterson's motivations. Smith is also standing by his position based on politics, dedicated to sticking with the old, corruptive means even if the end is something good.

From The Daily Politics:

Senate Majority Leader Malcolm Smith is sticking to his guns on gay marriage, insisting that he won't heed the governor's call to bring his program bill to the floor regardless of whether it has sufficient votes to pass.

"I'm very concerned about putting a bill on the floor that's going to be symbolism and not pass," the Queens Democrat said. "...I'm going to count until I know that I have 32 if not 34. I'm not going to move it on the floor if I don't have the numbers that I need."

Smith, who spoke briefly with reporters at the DRC meeting in Saratoga Springs last Friday night, also said that when it comes to marriage, he's "not going to get into horse trading" - a time-honored Albany tradition in which seemingly unrelated issues are linked in order to assure their passage by the Legislature.

"I'm not going to get into horse trading," Smith said. "This is the right issue. if you want to be on the right side of history then I think you should support this."
Smith is right that there is no need for horse trading. However, when it comes to being on the right side of history, if he truly believes that then it is only logical that he allow the Senate to vote on legalizing same-sex marriage. History is a record of what goes on in our society and our world, and there is no better place to show how our legislature behaves and responds to the people than the voting record.

Moreover, he should prove there is actual reform going on and allow someone besides himself bring the bill to the floor. Whether that be Tom Duane or anyone of the twenty-some senators in favor of the bill is irrelevant. The key is that we see more democracy in action in our state capitol and not pre-packaged votes that only happen when the Majority Leader has his ducks in a row.