Will the marriage equality bill pass the NY State Senate? That's still very iffy. Meanwhile, the NY State Senate is in a procedural uproar, according to a news story today, State Senate GOP Seizes Control In Political Coup, NY1, June 8, 2009.
Below are more news stories. As usual, I've bolded some who/what/when/where details about the religious right wing that I want to research further.
First, here are some recent news stories about the New York marriage equality bill:
- Smith: Not Enough Votes For Same-Sex Marriage Bill, NY1 News, June 5, 2009. Says:
- N.Y. takes center stage on gay marriage: Senate has until June 22 to take up bill by Valerie Richardson, Washington Times, Friday, June 5, 2009. Includes the following:
- Paterson: Treat Gay Marriage Like SONDA by Elizabeth Benjamin, Daily News, June 4, 2009. Paterson urges Malcolm Smith to go ahead and bring the bill to the floor for a vote, without waiting to be assured of enough votes.
- New Yorkers respond to Prop. 8 ruling with their feet by Duncan Osborne, Chelsea Now, June 4-17, 2009. About a rally, in Manhattan, against the recent California Supreme Court decision upholing Proposition 8 and in favor of marriage equality in New York.
- NY to be Niagara Falls of same-sex weddings? Pol thinks so by Frank Lombardi and Kenny Porpora, New York Daily News, Monday, June 8th 2009. (The "pol" is City Council Speaker Christine Quinn.)
- Sen. David Valesky reconsidering his stance on same-sex marriage by Delen Goldberg, The Post-Standard, Syracuse, NY, Sunday June 07, 2009. He was formerly opposed, now undecided.
- Nice day for a gay wedding by iriam Kreinin Souccar, Crain's New York Business, June 7, 2009. Includes the following paragraph about the religious right wing opponents:
- City Marriage Bureau Preparing For Same-Sex Marriages, NY1 News, June 8, 2009.
New York State Senate Majority Leader Malcolm Smith is insisting he will not bring a bill legalizing same-sex unions to a vote unless he has the support to pass it.
NY1's tally on the proposed gay marriage bill currently stands at 20 lawmakers for the legislation, 28 against, 10 who are undecided, and four who will not say.
NY1's complete tally is here: NY1 Exclusive: Survey Of State Senators Shows Gay Marriage Bill In Jeopardy, NY1 News, June 5, 2009. The actual complete tally has 29 against and 9 undecided, rather than only 28 against and 10 undecided.
Assemblyman Danny O'Donnell, the brother of openly gay comedian Rosie O'Donnell, sponsored the bill in New York's Democrat-controlled lower house, where it won easily May 12 by a vote of 89-52. A similar bill was passed by the Assembly in 2007.
The holdup for gay-marriage advocates has long been the Senate. Supporters were hopeful that such a bill would be successful in 2009 after Democrats upended the Republican Senate majority in November, but so far that hasn't been the case.
The biggest obstacle to winning passage may be state Sen. Ruben Diaz Sr., a Democrat who has spearheaded the fight against same-sex marriage. Mr. Diaz has said there are six Democrat state senators who oppose the bill, which would leave the bill's advocates well short of a majority.
An evangelical pastor, Mr. Diaz helped lead a raucous May 17 protest outside the office of Democratic Gov. David A. Paterson, a strong supporter of the gay marriage bill. Mr. Paterson,who proposed the bill and has lobbied hard in favor of it, has called on the Senate leadership to bring the bill to the floor for a vote whether or not it has the support to pass.
A week after the rally, Mr. Diaz pointed to a Siena poll showing a drop in support among New Yorkers for same-sex marriage, with those in favor and those against now locked in a tie at 46 percent each.
"Before that demonstration, it was 53 percent in favor of gay marriage," Mr. Diaz told Talk 1300 AM radio.
Diaz claims his rally is what changed the poll numbers. A more likely cause would be the TV ad sponsored by the so-called "National Organization for Marriage," as mentioned in previous posts, plus maybe talk radio appearances by religious right wingers like Diaz. The Washington Times article goes on to say:
Evan Wolfson, executive director of Freedom to Marry, said backers of same-sex marriage are turning up the heat on their state senators through letters, e-mails and phone calls.
Wolfson is also quoted as follows:
"Almost every state New York touches has moved ahead of New York in protecting families and approving marriage equality," he said. "I'm very hopeful that if we do our work, tell our stories, the Senate will do the right thing."
Only recently have anti-gay marriage groups, such as the National Organization for Marriage, turned their focus to New York. The conservative Christian group, which fought against legalizing same-sex marriage in the Northeast and California, began running 30-second television and radio spots late last month in New York City and Albany. The organization is reportedly spending $100,000 on its media campaign.
And here are some news stories about the recent same-sex marriage victory in New Hampshire:
- New Hampshire Legalizes Same-Sex Marriage by Abby Goodnough, New York Times, June 3, 2009. Says:
- New Hampshire Legalizes Same Sex Marriage, Ms., June 4, 2009. Briefly discusses the compromise wording that New Hampshire Governor John Lynch insisted on, then concludes by saying:
The bill had been through several permutations to satisfy Mr. Lynch and certain legislators that it would not force religious organizations that oppose same-sex marriage to participate in ceremonies celebrating it. Some groups had feared they could be sued for refusing to allow same-sex weddings on their property.
As more states have legalized same-sex marriage, opponents have increasingly lobbied for “conscience protections,” language that exempts religious organizations from having to participate.
But many of the bill’s opponents believe the language adopted by New Hampshire and several other states does not go far enough because it protects only religious groups and their employees. New Hampshire’s bill does not exempt photographers or florists, for example, from having to provide services.
But groups that advocate for gay rights, some of whom poured money into the state in recent months, said the law was yet another step toward mainstream America accepting same-sex marriage. “As people get to know the loving and committed couples at the heart of marriage equality,” said Neil G. Giuliano, president of the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, “our culture is moving to equality.”
Kevin Smith, director of the Cornerstone Policy Research, a group opposing the bill, said lawmakers “rammed this legislation through” in a way that “reeks of backroom deals and a subversion of the legislative process.”
A sidebar contains a link to New Hampshire's same-sex marriage law itself on FindLaw.
New Hampshire became the seventh state to legalize civil unions in 2007 and is the sixth state to legalize same sex marriage in the United States after Massachusetts, Connecticut, Iowa, Vermont, and Maine. Similar legislation is currently under consideration in New York.
Here are some news stories about the Gay Pride parade here in Queens yesterday:
- Participants hope Gay Pride parade will prompt anti-same-sex marriage politicians to reconsider by Clare Trapasso. New York Daily News, Friday, June 5th 2009
- Thousands Turn Out for Queens Gay Pride Parade by Ellen Marski, WPIX, June 7, 2009.
- Fight For Gay Marriage Moves To Queens by NY1 News, June 8, 2009.
And here is some other related stuff I found via Google news:
- Revisiting 1969 and the Start of Gay Liberation by Sewell Chan, New York Times City Room blog, June 8, 2009 - about the exhibition at the New York Public Library
- And now for some comic relief, a satirical opinion piece by Francesca Biller-Safran: Same-Sex Marriage Protestors Announce Jealousy of Gay Weddings, Huffington Post, June 4, 2009.