Main | Saturday, November 29, 2008

NY Senate Democrats Back Off Promise For Marriage Equality In 2009

New York Senate Democrats are now telling the press that they may not bring up marriage equality in the upcoming session and may not do so at all until after the 2011 election. This, after encouraging boatloads of campaign donations from the LGBT community with the attached promise of bringing same-sex marriage to a vote.
“We want to get there, but we want to get there the right way or else we risk setting ourselves back another decade,” said Senator Liz Krueger, a Democrat who represents the Upper East Side. “I think the California proposition and the recognition that entities with large amounts of money who oppose same-sex marriage have decided to be large players in this have a lot of people going back to the drawing board.” [JMG: Krueger is my senator.]

In addition, shoring up the state’s depleted treasury and repairing the economy have become the most pressing issues for Albany lawmakers, who return to the capital in January to face a reconfigured landscape. Democrats hold a majority of seats in both chambers of the Legislature, along with the governor’s office, for the first time since the 1930s. Some Democrats are not even confident they have the 32 votes necessary to pass a same-sex marriage bill in the Senate. The Democratic-led Assembly passed the measure last year by a sizable margin, but the Republican-controlled Senate declined to bring it to the floor for a vote.
Openly gay state Assemblyman Daniel O'Donnell, who successfully led the Assembly to approve marriage equality last year, disagrees with the strategy:
“Since when are fixing the economy and civil rights mutually exclusive?” said Daniel J. O’Donnell, an assemblyman from the Upper West Side who led the push for the bill in the Assembly. Mr. O’Donnell added that expectations are high in the gay community that New York will be able to deliver the movement’s next victory. “The leadership of the Senate and others in our community collected a lot of money from a lot of people with the promise — spoken and unspoken — that if the Democrats won the Senate, they would take a vote,” he said.
Some would say that what we're seeing here is the Democratic party in full retreat, terrified by the prospect of a repeat of the Prop 8 debacle in New York. And I can understand that the Democrats are soft-pedaling marriage equality at least until the majority leadership issue is resolved, but check out THIS corker from the above-linked story:
The Empire State Pride Agenda, an organization known for aggressively pursuing news media attention, said through a spokesman that it was in a “quiet period” and would not respond to questions.
A "quiet period"??? What. The. Fuck? And here I had dismissed it when I was told at the marriage equality rally at New York City Hall that the Pride Agenda had been telling people not to attend. Later that same day, somebody else told me they'd called the Pride Agenda to see if that was true, and he said he was told, "We're not telling people to go and we're not telling people not to go."

Here we are in the midst of the greatest resurgence of gay activism seen in decades and our own people are putting on the brakes. The Wicked Witch of the West said, "These things must be done delicately"...and I get that. But fucking hell, this is frustrating.

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