Not a good day in New York. First, fully one-fourth of the Senate Democratic Caucus voted against marriage equality. The offenders are: Joseph Addabbo (D-Queens), Darrel Aubertine (D- Cape Vincent), Ruben Diaz (D-Bronx), Shirley Huntley (D-Queens), Carl Kruger (D-Brooklyn), Hiram Monserrate (D-Queens), George Onorato (D-Queens) and William Stachowski (D-Buffalo). A quarter might sound okay, but as you’ll see below, the Democrats in New York owe control of the State Senate to gay support last fall.
I listened to the debate today. Ruben Diaz was the worst. He gave an outrageous floor speech. Then, as he was casting his vote, Diaz noted that he was on the same side as President Obama and Hillary and Bill Clinton. Senator Tom Duane pointed out that at least Diaz was wrong about Bill Clinton.
Every single Republican voted No. There was a strong belief that at least a few GOPers would vote yes. But, that didn’t happen. I suspect those GOPers bailed once it became clear the bill was going down. They didn’t want to be the next Dede Scozzafava for a losing cause. (You recall that she was that GOP candidate for Congress who faced the wrath of all the hard-core right-wingers, including Palin and Beck, because she was too liberal on issues like same-sex marriage.)
So, the backlash begins. And, in New York, an LGBT backlash can be powerful.
TowleRoad has a quote from the Senate sponsor, Tom Duane, who spoke of the betrayal from his fellow Democrats:
“I wasn’t expected to be betrayed, and so I have some justified anger. But it’s just going to propel me to – I don’t want to say redouble my efforts, because my efforts have been pretty strong – but I’m not going to let up. I’m angry. I’m disappointed. I am let down. I’m betrayed. But I am not going away…Unfortunately, I think there was a contagious lack of backbone that occurred here today. And I’m angry about that and sad about that, but it was contagious. Similarly, the opposite would have meant far more votes than anyone had expected but unfortunately that wasn’t the way it went today.”
Sounds like there was plenty of betrayal and not nearly enough backbone in Albany today.
Via Joe.My.God, there’s a protest in New York City tonight:
A protest about today’s vote will take place in Times Square at 6PM on the steps of TKTS booth.
Joe also reported that one of the Senators who ditched us was the Democrat accused of domestic violence:
Among the surprises was a “no” vote from Queens Democrat Sen. Hiram Monserrate, who had previously been a vocal supporter. In October, Monserrate narrowly escaped a felony assault conviction for slashing the face of his girlfriend with a broken glass. Monserrate’s NYC office: (718) 205-3881. His Albany office: (518) 455-2529.
Monserrate could marry the woman whose face he allegedly slashed. But, he doesn’t think same-sex marriages are worth legal recognition. Bastard.
This is the beginning of the statement from New York City Council Speaker Christine Quinn about the vote, which I got by email:
“Today the New York State Senate rejected an opportunity to declare that all citizens in New York are equal. The depth of sadness that I and many New Yorkers feel today is difficult to express. This is a loss for every family in New York. This is a loss for every Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender New Yorker.
It was a loss for every all of us — again. I’m getting sick of losing. And, I’m getting sick of politicians who take our money and don’t deliver.
Michael Mitchell, the Executive Director of National Stonewall Democrats blasted the Republicans, but also stated (and rightly so) that Democrats have to be held accountable:
“Today’s vote also demonstrates that we must be critical in examining those in our own ranks. We cannot allow the Democratic Party to harbor intolerance or hatred of any kind. On a day marked by disappointment, at least now we know which Democrats need to be held accountable on primary day next year.”
That’s a key point. In New York, a lot of gay money was spent to help Democrats retake control of the State Senate in New York last fall. That was documented in a piece in the New York Times on October 26, 2008, which included this excerpt:
Far from trumpeting their involvement, gay rights groups have been largely silent about their role in Senate campaigns for fear of raising the ire of social conservatives. But a review of campaign finance disclosure forms shows that gay and lesbian advocates have become a quiet but potent force this election season.
All told, gay rights groups and donors affiliated with them have given a total of at least $480,000 this year to Democratic Senate candidates and campaign funds controlled by Democrats, according to the most recent disclosure documents available. Much of that money was donated in the past month and pointed at a handful of competitive races, campaign finance filings show.
So, gays helped put the Democrats in control of the State Senate — and that is widely known. And, what did we get for that? A crushing defeat.
This is so not over. New York gays started the movement for equality with Stonewall back in 1969. Let’s see what happens in 2009.