Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Paterson: "Gay Marriage On Table In Special Session"

New York State Governor David Paterson has confirmed he will bring the pending gay-marriage bill to the floor for a vote. Using his special statutory authority as Governor to force the State Senate to return to Albany for a special session, Paterson vowed to "get the people's business done." State troopers can use force to bring Senators back to Albany if they refuse the Governor's order, but the Senate is still split, 31-31, making it uncertain if any legislation will actually be passed. Besides gay marriage, there are several other bills pending in the Senate, including budgetary issues and mayoral oversight of the NYC Board of Education.

Observers note that virulently homophobic Senator Ruben Diaz, Sr. (D-South Bronx), has vowed to defeat gay marriage in New York "Now and in the future". Gay-marriage bill author Sen. Thomas Duane (D-Chelsea) has been trying all kinds of things to get his bill passed, incliding "dialoguing" with Republicans following the parliamentary coup that split the State Senate.

Whither gay marriage? With a split Senate, and no clear majority, it looks doubtful that gay marriage will become law in New York State. I would like to believe that our Senators will put aside their differences and pass legislation on gay-marriage and other issues, but Albany has outdone itself this year. The acrimony and infighting has eclipsed our hopes for any lawmaking. We shall see.

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