Skip to comments.How Today's Circus in the New York Senate Affects Gay Marriage (No Gay Marriage for NY)
Posted on 06/08/2009 5:02:55 PM PDT by Maelstorm
After four decades of Republican control, the New York State Senate's Democrats scored a coup in January, finally securing the chamber. Five months later, they may have lost it after a riotous affair went down this afternoon, with two Democrats abandoning their party to join hands with Republicans who promptly demanded a new roll call vote to find new leadership and oust Majority Leader Malcolm Smith. What's this mean for the fractious effort to beat the legislative session's ticking clock to pass same-sex marriage legislation?
In a stunning turn of events, Sens. Pedro Espada Jr. of the Bronx and Hiram Monserrate of Queens (pictured, via) announced they were joining up with Republicans, though it's not clear why. (Both men are under criminal investigation. New York is also in the middle of a frenzied state budget affair.)
Interestingly, Sen. Rubén Díaz Sr. arguably the most vocal Democratic opponent to same-sex marriage and one of the "Gang Of Three" who nearly refused to give Smith his vote to make him leader after the November elections did not join the rebellion. Under a new power-sharing agreement, both Sens. Espada Jr. and Republican Dean Skelos will assume co-leadership roles. Meanwhile, Smith calls the Republican takeover "illegal" and insists he's still in power.
Fine. But what's that mean for gay marriage? Well, things aren't looking good.
If Republicans do take control over the Senate, they will certainly not allow a bill to reach the floor for a full vote. Which means even if Sen. Thomas Duane had locked up the 32 votes necessary to pass the bill, it's now dead in the water.
If this mess is not sorted out immediately and power not officially maintained by either party, you can expect the rest of the legislative session to be tied up with turmoil, and the same-sex marriage issue pushed to the back of the bus in terms of priorities.
If Democrats do maintain control, we're still not out of the water. Sens. Espada Jr. was marked in the "yes" column while Monserrate was "undecided" on supporting marriage equality; it's unclear how the team up with Republicans would impact that vote. Moreover, if Smith retains his leadership post, he may still not permit the same-sex marriage bill to come up for a vote, since he's requiring 32 votes to pass it.
And as Elizabeth Benjamin notes: "Another rumor du jour is that Diaz, who is furious that the gay marriage bill he opposes appears to be gaining some traction in the Senate, would be angry enough with Smith if the measure comes up for a vote on the floor to join the Senate GOP. [...] It's a (typically) cryptic way of Diaz Sr. confirming the worst fears of marriage advocates - that there was indeed a deal between himself and Smith that the gay marriage bill would not come to the floor in exchange for Diaz Sr.'s support of Smith for majority leader. And now, in Diaz Sr.'s mind, if Smith brings the bill to the floor, all bets are off."
Undoubtedly, some will argue Senate Democrats sat on their hands too long to legalize same-sex marriage and now have nothing but a regime change to show for it.
Can we see 2 Panicked Democrats in the Senate in DC ? well, besides Pelosi and Specter.....
Who is now the acting Lieutenant Governor ? Espada or Skelos ?
They should be worried. Pelosi isn’t in the Senate but I get what you mean. The GOP needs to make sure they have candidates running. They can win with the right message.
you can expect the rest of the legislative session to be tied up with turmoil,
Good! This makes it less likely that they will be able to spend money.
There are those who are trying to eliminate this division by driving out those who oppose it. Diaz needs support and more "good Dems" to back him up within his party, or the issue is lost.
Moral conservatives need to be bipartisan if they want to win the cultural conflicts of the day.
Posted this in my blog a couple hours ago. http://AlbanysInsanity.com
The Democrats have no one to blame but themselves. This is all about the gay marriage bill that A. Thompson, M. Smith and the Governor are trying to push for a vote in the Senate. Ove the past couple days it has become more and more apparent that even Stachowski was going to vote for it to maintain”Party Unity”. Well congratulations gentlemen, you have given up your power for a few reasons, simply look in the mirror as to who is to blame.
The deal in the beginning that the gay marriage bill would not be brought to the floor, in the beginning 3 of these Senators were going to vote for Skelos but as long as they kept their promise. Well this promise and the reforms promised never surfaced, all we saw was the growth of pork, patronage, spending and the complete dysfunction of this leadership. Now maybe we will get our representation back that upstate and western NY need so desperately!
I sense the pro-gay whining in this article..truely shameless.
I agree, better a DINO than a full blown-left Dem!
Espada will be President Pro Tem and thus acting LG. (Patterson vows he will not leave the state to avert Espada being acting Governor) It’s funny how some (all?) Governor are only empowered if in their state.
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