As N.Y. gay marriage vote approaches, senators switch stance based on constituent support

Posted on: June 14th, 2011 by Sofia Resnick No Comments

Less than a week remains before the New York Senate votes on a bill that would legalize same-sex marriage in the state, and supporters of the measure are slowly racking up the necessary number of votes necessary to secure passage.

On Monday, three of the four Senate Democrats who helped defeat same-sex marriage legislation in 2009 jumped sides due to pro-gay-marriage sentiment among their constituents, reports The New York Times.

The three senators — Joseph P. Addabbo, Jr. and Shirley L. Huntley of Queens and Carl Kruger of Brooklyn — joined Democrat Gov. Andrew Cuomo during a press conference Monday, where Addabbo reportedly said that two years ago, 73 percent of the constituents who contacted his office opposed gay marriage, while this year about 80 percent asked him to vote in favor of the same-sex bill.

The measure became bipartisan Monday after Republican Sen. James Alesi, who also voted against same-same marriage in 2009, threw his public support toward the same-sex bill.

The New York Daily News reports that the bill is currently two votes short of passage, with at least four Republicans saying they are undecided. According to the daily, Senate Republicans are expected to hold a closed-door meeting concerning the gay-marriage measure and might bring it to the floor for an up-and-down vote this week.

As Forbes recently reported, the fate of gay marriage in New York essentially rests in the Senate’s hands; thus same-sex marriage opponents have come out in full force this week to sway undecided senators.

On Tuesday, New York Archbishop Timothy M. Dolan wrote a blogpost titled “The True Meaning of Marriage,” wherein he accuses senators of caving in to political pressure where they once were “courageous in their refusal to capitulate on the state’s presumption to redefine marriage.”

An excerpt from Dolan’s blog;

Last time I consulted an atlas, it is clear we are living in New York, in the United States of America – not in China or North Korea. In those countries, government presumes daily to “redefine” rights, relationships, values, and natural law. There, communiqués from the government can dictate the size of families, who lives and who dies, and what the very definition of “family” and “marriage” means.

But, please, not here! Our country’s founding principles speak of rights given by God, not invented by government, and certain noble values – life, home, family, marriage, children, faith – that are protected, not re-defined, by a state presuming omnipotence.

[...]

Yes, I admit, I come at this as a believer, who, along with other citizens of a diversity of creeds believe that God, not Albany, has settled the definition of marriage a long time ago.

Also Tuesday, the group New Yorkers for Constitutional Freedoms released an open letter to New York Senate Majority Leader Dean G. Skelos, telling him, “Quite frankly, how the GOP responds to this issue will demonstrate whether or not they deserve the right to lead in the future.”

According to the Advocate, the National Organization for Marriage has pledged to spend $1 million to defeat lawmakers who vote for the bill and has come out in support Sen. Ruben Diaz, Sr. (D-Bronx) for opposing it.

Forbes reports that each side of the New York same-sex-marriage campaign funded more than $1 million from national and state advocates, both sides promising campaign cash for lawmakers who side with them.

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