In the Republican-controlled New York State Senate, marriage equality would not have passed without the votes of a few Republicans. Even with all but one Democrat voting in favor of marriage equality, the senators simply didn't have the votes.
Four Republican state senators crossed party lines on the issue last Friday, bringing the vote to 33-29. The four Republicans were James Alesi, Mark Grisanti, Roy McDonald, and Stephen Saland.
Since the vote, the Republicans have faced opposition from social conservatives, who have said they would pull campaign funding from the senators and actively seek to unseat them from their positions.
Mark Grisanti said that he is unsure whether his pro-equality vote will have negative implications for his future career as a Republican senator. "People say I committed political suicide," he told a local media outlet in Buffalo.
Michael Long, chairman of the NY State Conservative Committee, has stated that his organization will likely pull its endorsement of Sen. Saland as a result of his vote. Long told the Mid-Hudson News, "The Conservative Party has to be true to its principles and those principles are supporting marriage between a man and a woman and we can no longer endorse people who don't respect that or honor that commitment."
The Poughkeepsie Journal provided further details about Saland's current relationship with the Conservative Party.
The Dutchess County Conservative Party chairwoman Patricia Killian said [Saland's] future with the party "is null and void." Asked how she felt about his decision, she responded, "Disappointed as I've seldom been disappointed in my life."
Conservative groups vowed to spend $2 million next year to defeat him and other Republicans who supported the bill.
Alesi has also said that he expects to lose support from the Conservative Party, the organization that responded to news of the vote with a press release entitled, "Passage of Same-Sex Marriage is a Disaster for the Future", when he runs for reelection in 2012. Alesi was the first Republican senator in New York to come out in favor of marriage equality.
Roy McDonald also publicly broke party lines quite early, when he told press a week before the vote that he was intending to support marriage equality. He famously said, in support of the marriage equality bill:
You get to the point where you evolve in your life where everything isn't black and white, good and bad, and you try to do the right thing. You might not like that. You might be very cynical about that. Well, f**k it, I don't care what you think. I'm trying to do the right thing.
Unsurprisingly, McDonald has also been threatened with backlash from the Conservative Party.