There’s been a lot of coverage of Mayor Bloomberg’s trip to Albany to lobby for the marriage equality legislation. He spent tons to put Republicans back in control of the State Senate and that’s where he focused his efforts. Our post on Bloomberg’s visit is here.
Seems the GOP’s Senate leader is trying to back away from his earlier, oft-repeated promise to bring marriage to the floor for a vote. From Laura Nahmais at City Hall News included a nugget I hadn’t seen yet. The Majority Leader is backsliding on his promise of a vote:
Still, Cuomo has not yet introduced a program bill for gay marriage. Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos, who once promised he would bring the issue up for a vote, now says he plans to discuss it with his conference first.
The Republican senators whose votes are most needed are outside New York City, limiting Quinn’s influence. And although Mayor Bloomberg promised to financially support Republicans who vote in favor, he also said he wouldn’t categorically withdraw support from those who voted no.
“In the real world, you can’t pick one issue and say it’s all or nothing,” Bloomberg said.
Thanks, Mike. Could you at least push Skelos to hold a vote?
On several occasions, Skelos has promised to hold a vote on marriage.
Last fall, Skelos was pretty uneqivocal when speaking to reporters:
Funny thing, but another one of the times Skelos talked about holding a vote was at Log Cabin fundraiser. Julie Bolcer gave the report:
Skelos spoke at a fund-raiser for the New York Log Cabin Republicans in Manhattan, where he predicted his party could win four or five senate seats in the November election and wrest control of the chamber from Democrats, who hold a slim 32-30 majority. Should Republicans return to the majority, which they held for more than 40 years until 2008, Skelos said he would recommend that the marriage equality bill get a vote regardless of whether the outcome is known in advance.
Here’s what Skelos said, with some context:
In a contentious meeting with gay Democrats this past summer, Democratic conference leader John Sampson indicated a preference for bringing the marriage equality bill for another vote only when it would be certain to pass. Skelos expressed no such hesitation in his remarks to nearly 40 attendees at the Log Cabin Republicans event.
”Let me just say, when we win back the majority, there is legislation that I believe all of you are interested in, that I believe should be voted on again,” he said. “We’re not going to stifle discussion. We are not going to stifle votes. And it is truly my belief that people should be allowed to vote their consciences.”
Sounds pretty uneqivocal — and Republicans did win back the majority. But, apparently, it truly wasn’t his belief. Now, he needs is going to stifle discussion. Sounds like Skelos is playing games. Big surprise.
Elected officials never want to take tough votes. But, we need them on the record. It’s clear where the people of New York stand. GOP Senators can side with the homophobes — or they can get on the right side of history. If his conference wants to side with the haters, New Yorkers should know that. think the LGBT community in New York has shown it’s willingness to fight for full equality.
Also, Scott Wooledge reports that two anti-gay GOP State Senators have gone on the offense:
With Republican Senators under intense pressure from Mike Bloomberg, Andrew Cuomo, Senators Gillibrand and Schumer and a large coalition of conservative GOP donors to approve marriage equality in the next few weeks, Senators Martin Golden (District 22, Brooklyn) and Tom Libous (District 52, Binghamton) have turned to that old addage, “The best defense is a good offense.”
They introduced a bill today that would strip New York State government of its practice of recognizing same-sex marriages performed in other states.
Golden and Libous are two of the members of the GOP Senate conference with whom Dean Skelos needs to discuss whether to bring the marriage bill to the floor. How do you think that conversation will go?