In a breathtaking coup, two Democratic
New York Senators have sided with Republicans to flip control of the
chamber to the GOP, dooming a gay marriage bill waiting for Senate
approval to become law.
Whether the gay marriage bill prompted
the lawmakers to act remains to be seen. The two Democrats who
handed power to the Republicans – Pedro Espada Jr. of the Bronx and
Hiram Monserrate of Queens – hold mixed opinions on the
legalization of gay marriage in New York.
The new majority voted to appoint
Nassau Republican Dean Seklos, a gay marriage opponent, senate
majority leader. Democrats decried the manoeuvre as “illegal.”
“This was an illegal and unlawful
attempt to gain control of the Senate and reverse the will of the
people who voted for a Democratic majority,” ousted Senate Majority
Leader Malcolm Smith said.
Republicans controlled the New York
Senate for four decades before losing power in November.
The two Democrats were lured by
Republicans with plum positions; Espada becomes the state's first
Hispanic senate president.
Smith and Seklos both claim to run the
The new majority – 32 to 30 – is
certain to let the clock on gay marriage run out as the legislative
session winds to an end.