Monday, May 30, 2011

Is Marriage Equality Almost Here?

Governor Cuomo has been putting his significant political weight behind the marriage equality movement. Like the canny politico he is, he has done a great job coordinating the various gay marriage groups with his office and relentlessly pushing the message that now is the time for the Empire State to legalize it. 

But it's not that easy.

Simply put, it's a matter of math. 

While gay marriage is overwhelming supported in the State Assembly, thanks to the Democratic majority there, there are 32 Republican State Senators and only 30 Democratic State Senators. Of the Democrats, about four of them are violently opposed to gay marriage. And so far no Republican is publicly supporting the it. That means right now the vote would be roughly 36-28 against. But if four Republicans were to switch, then it would get passed and New York would become the first big state in America to legalize gay marriage. Cuomo and Bloomberg and the various groups are doing everything they can to woo some of the more malleable Republicans but they're afraid that they might lose their primaries or be denied Conservative Party support and that this will do them in.

I think they're wrong. Quite the opposite: I think if these Republicans vote for gay marriage, they will be rewarded politically and also financially: Bloomberg and various wealthy donors have indicated that they will give these senators huge campaign contributions and this will help them hold their seats for years to come. So let's keep our fingers crossed -- and hopefully by next month, New York State will have seen the light.

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