Bilerico Report

Who do we have to blow to get gay marriage in New York?

Gov Paterson at Gay Pride
From the Village Voice:

In Europe, Gay Pride parades are held each year on the occasion known as “Christopher Street Day”—a nod to the New York street that gave birth to the worldwide gay rights movement with the Stonewall riots.

But if this city once signified the leading edge of that movement, what does it say that in those European countries celebrating our fair city, there’s gay marriage equality, but here, where the struggle for rights began, New York still can’t get it right?

That seemed about to change at the beginning of the year. Governor Paterson was fully supportive of gay marriage rights, his popularity hadn’t fully tanked yet, and gay voters had helped tip the State Senate in the Democrats‘ favor for the first time in 40 years. By June, Republican minority leader Dean Skelos said he’d let his members vote as they saw fit, and wouldn’t block a gay marriage vote on the Senate floor. Once a marriage bill passed in the Assembly, the future looked as gay as a revival of Meet Me in St. Louis.

Voters, it’s true, rejected gay marriage in California and Maine, and gay marriage’s Cassandra, Maggie Gallagher, resides right here in our state. But even Gallagher couldn’t do anything about it if our legislature approved a marriage equality bill and Governor Paterson signed it into law.

“It would be difficult, if not impossible, for an opponent to repeal a new law,” says Justin Phillips, assistant professor of political science at Columbia University. “The reason it was so easy in California and Maine is that those states have citizen initiatives, which allow voters to draft a new law or amend their constitution. New York does not.” Once New York approves an equal marriage law, says Phillips, “it’s pretty much here to stay.”

So what, then, is the hang-up?

In a word, it’s the Democrats…

Continue reading at the Village Voice.

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