The rumor mill in New York continues to
float stories about the bargaining away of gay marriage in the
upcoming state Legislature.
It was just last week that a New
York Times story implied that a promised gay marriage bill had
created a leadership log jam in the state Senate. The report cited
three Senate Democrats who were holding out for greater power on this
issue and others.
Senator-elect Pedro Espada Jr, Senator
Ruben Diaz Sr. of the Bronx, and Senator Carl Krugen of Brooklyn each
were threatening to leave the Democratic party if Senator Malcolm A.
Smith would be made leader of the chamber.
After a three-hour meeting, New York
Governor David A. Paterson brokered a power-sharing deal between the
According to the Times, the deal
calls for Smith to become the first Democratic leader in the Senate
in more than 40 years, but at the expense of sharing the
responsibility with Espada.
Gay activists poured considerable
efforts and money into New York Democratic races in hopes that a
democratically led Legislature and Governor would respond in kind
with a gay marriage bill.
Early on, however, Senator Ruben Diaz
Sr. said he could not vote for a pro-gay marriage leader and demanded
that a gay marriage bill not be brought to the floor.
Paterson has a long record of
supporting gay marriage. During the summer, he directed all agencies
to recognize gay marriages performed outside of the state,
Massachusetts and California at the time.
And at this year's National Gay and
Lesbian Task Force dinner, Paterson said: “We will push on and
bring full marriage equality in New York State. And when we have
done that, we're going to do more. We're going to protect young
people from bullies. We're going to protect against the
discrimination of people in the transgender community, and we're
going to fight for decent and affordable healthcare for all citizens
in this state. If you will join me, and if we work hard enough, we
can change the face of New York, which will be the catalyst for
changing national policy.”
But the deal Paterson brokered with the
so called Gang of Three may well have dealt that hand away.
New York Daily News
is reporting that the new plan is “to have the same-sex
marriage bill introduced, determined to have fiscal implications and
referred to the Finance Committee, which, assuming the agreement
between the gang and Smith sticks, will be headed by Senator Carl
Kruger, who could stop the measure in its tracks.”
Empire State Pride Agenda Executive
Director Alan Van Capelle quickly responded to the news. In a
statement he said: “We are still awaiting the final details of the
announced State Senate leadership deal. We would expect that any
rumors that marriage equality was somehow a part of this deal are
just that – rumors. Civil rights should never be a bargaining chip
in any political leadership battle, and we would be outraged if the
issue of marriage equality was even part of the discussions.”