Alex Blaze

NY Senate not to pursue same-sex marriage bill

Filed By Alex Blaze | December 05, 2008 10:00 AM | comments

Filed in: Marriage Equality, Politics, The Movement
Tags: employment discrimination, gay marriage, GEnda, Governor Patterson, LGBT, marriage, New York, omegas, wolves

The NY general assembly has already passed same-sex marriage and governor Patterson has indicated that he would sign the bill, but it died in the Senate last year due to Republican opposition. The focus was on turning two of those state senate seats blue to get a Democratic majority in both houses for this session, and they pulled it off. But that isn't enough to get the bill through the senate, the NY Daily News reported late yesterday:

A bill to legalize same-sex marriage will not be brought to the floor of the Senate for a vote this year. Smith will announce that he does not believe the measure has sufficient votes to pass - a statement that is at this point undoubtedly true, although it's unclear how long that will last if, as Democrats are hoping, the prospect of being in the minority leads to mass GOP retirements.

The reasons floating around was that they didn't want to hurt the governor's reelection chances in 2010, that it was too controversial, etc. It's standard-issue Democratic talk, but it always amazes me that Republicans are always assumed to take one side on this issue, no matter how unpopular, and they never break ranks on these sorts of bills. Democrats, on the other hand, are always worried about looking to extreme or rocking the boat. They simply don't have the discipline that the Republicans do, meaning that simple majorities don't help queers. We need big 70 to 80% majorities to get anything passed, what with allies like these.

Digby has a theory about why Democrats always turn so well on their most loyal supporters (unsurprisingly, it starts and ends with them being inferior politicians):

For years liberals have allowed themselves to be cowed by the right (hell, they even turned the word itself into an epithet)and continue even to this day to apologize over and over again for their supposedly humiliating error of seeking equality for minorities and lifting people out of poverty, which is what apparently ruined everything.(Read Edsall's article for the full litany.) Those Beta members of the establishment who are on the leftish side are embarrassed by their associations with such losers and must go out of their way to separate themselves from them if they expect to be taken seriously --- in the wild Betas often brutalize the Omega worse than the Alphas do.[...]

The good Omega knows its place in the hierarchy and even respects its own debasement: it's all for the good of the pack. After all, the politicians all have to live together and work together and they need at least one thing they can all agree on.

While in her theory progressives are the omegas that the Democrats beat up on, I'd add the queers to that list. Obama didn't miss a beat when interviewed Rick Warren to tell us that God doesn't approve of same-sex relationships, Biden mentioned that his opposition to same-sex marriage was the only thing he agreed with Sarah Palin on, Kerry went out of his way to stress his opposition to gay rights, and Clinton campaigned for reelection on DOMA and DADT. And that doesn't even get into other LGBT issues, which will be held up in the Congress by a groups of Democrats who would hate to be labeled as "liberal" because they tried to pass labor legislation ban firing LGBT people based on their sexuality or gender.

The left, sure, they get their choice words, often labeled as immature, idealistic, naive, smelly hippies, but eventually Democrats will have to remember the horse they rode in on. As digby said, they beat up on the stereotypical image of liberals, like Code Pink, not necessarily the policy that they're pushing for.

The queers, on the other hand, we don't hold the same sort of political power that the left does, either in terms of votes or money. Democrats, really, have no reason to follow through on any of their promises to us except when it's perfectly safe. Even then, well, they might still try to prove their centrist or religious creds by beating up on us, or at least ignoring our issues.

This isn't a "we're the only minority that can be publicly maligned anymore" argument, because that simply isn't true. But we are a major political constituency that can be thrown to the wolves, so to speak, and get on the receiving end of that regularly, no matter how well our rights are polling, just so that Democrats can prove that they are perfectly willing to let the boat go unshaken. As the beta politicians, they have to prove themselves to the alphas, and show that they're all really on the same side when it comes to the omegas. If they actually were in charge, they'd have the discipline to push through their ideology, and the Religious Right would be the object of collective scorn (which is becoming a more and more unpalatable group, especially in coastal states like New York). But that's not the way the game is set up.

In this case, we were one of the sacrificial lambs in NY. I'm doubting that, even if Democrats keep the NY senate after 2010, that this will be on the table.

There's still no word on GENDA, which was in the same position as same-sex marriage in NY (passed general assembly, governor promised to sign it, senate Republicans refused to take action on it). So there's still hope on that front.

A Facebook group has been created to fight this.


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There were other issues at hand as well. Four Democratic senators from "downstate" were lagging behind support for the (now) majority leader, threatening to defect to the Republican party. It was also rumored that one insisted that his support was contingent on the majority leader's pledge to NOT allow a marriage equality bill to come to the floor for vote.

The Dems outright promised this bill would be brought forth, if we voted for them.

Guess we should have known they were lying by the fact that their lips were moving.

Angela Brightfeather | December 5, 2008 1:48 PM

"There's still no word on GENDA, which was in the same position as same-sex marriage in NY (passed general assembly, governor promised to sign it, senate Republicans refused to take action on it). So there's still hope on that front."

Now, wouldn't that be refreshing? Especially after the recent murder of Lateisha Cannon in Syracuse and the stir it has created. But I would not bet my house on the outcome of it.

NY State is more fractionalized than people understand. The downstate (NYC area) is one thing and the Upstate area (anywhere above West Point on the Hudson) is another thing all together. One decidedly liberal and Democrat and the other the exact opposite, no matter how the national elections may go, the deep seeded conservatism of the Upper state has not even been cracked to any degree by having Hillary as their Senator. Which is another matter all together. For those who think that the sun rises and sets on Hillary and her methods, take another look at Upstate NY and it's conservative attitudes and antiquated laws dealing with GLBT people.

In Syracuse, Hillary's home base, they passed a Fair Practices law over ten years ago and outright refuses and fought any change at that time to add Trans people to those protections. Guess what? Post Hillary, it still has not been updated and there isn't very much going on (outside of murdering Trans people) that indicates that they will change it. Hillary probably doesn't even know about the situation or even cares about it enough to do anything. It makes me cringe to think that as the new person who should not back down in international negotiations, she can't negotiate against a bunch of dairy farmers in Upstate NY well enough to get Transgender protections added to an existing piece of legislation providing protections for GLB people for the last ten years, let alone a GNEDCA bill at the state level. Makes you think for a moment doesn't it?

But don't let NY fool you. Just because it looks blue on an election map does not mean that the Democrats are able to fight for our rights in that state. As a matter of fact, they have gotten pushed around so much by the conservative Republicans in that state that they should put wheels on their agenda and admit that the only time they bring out anything that even sounds liberal is in an election where they want to show a progressive face on NYC. Any other time, they are willing t wheel those issues right back into the back corner of the same warehouse that they hid the Arc of the Covenant from Indiana Jones.

If you don't try and push the envelope, then you don't get to up the anti when the time is right and in NY, the Democrats from downstate hate the Republicans from upstate so much, that any piece of liberal thinking that enters the House or Senate in Albany, has to suffer going through the traditional Iroquois gauntlet of warriors and usually gets so beat up in the process and used as a tool to ferment the hate, that people just say enough and turn off.

It has been my experience after moving to NC that when returning to NY State to visit, I find absolutely nothing changing. The two major industries in NY are still raising taxes and handing out traffic violations. Outside of those two items, don't ever expect anything to get done in NY State, let alone liberal type legislation of any kind.

Joseph Kowalski | December 5, 2008 10:41 PM

The only good a Democratic majority is for us over a Republican majority is that the Democrats rarely introduce anti-gay legislation. We can't count on them to stand together in support of gay rights because they are all worried about re-election.

Republican politicians know 20 to 25% of gay people will support them without expecting anything in return and Democratic politicians know 75 to 80% of gay people will support them based on campaign promises they have no intention on fulfilling.

The Republican party is too far gone to ever be of help in support of gay issues. The radical, religious faction has taken over there.

But it's time for gay people to withhold our monetary donations in support of Democrats until Democrats come through for us and support pro-gay legislation. Campaign promises aren't good enough.

In fairness, there are some democratic strongholds upstate.

That said, an NYC-area elected official of the Democratic persuasion(I am not saying whom), an acquaintance of mine, was here this am for coffee and to solicit a donation on behalf of the State Democratic Party.

I wrote the cheque while asking about the fate of the marriage bill and Genda(one of my closest friends lost her job the day SONDA became effective because whatever piecemeal protections existed for individuals in transition disappeared that date due to legislative intent to exclude trans-people)

I was given the song and dance, looked at my acquintance, and tore up the cheque.

Not a cent, not a bloody cent til you get us equality or at least do us the courtesy of ending the campaign lies.

Bill Perdue Bill Perdue | December 8, 2008 2:11 PM

The header for this contribution is not accurate. It says the the NY senate won't persue a bill authorizing same sex marriage.

What is accurate is that anti-GLBT bigots in the Democrat party's senatorial caucus have stopped this law cold and that their leadership, even though they're in a minority, is going to let these bigts run the show.

When will people get tired of being run over by the Democrat bus. The answer is; soon.