Monday, June 8, 2009

War On The Floor! NY Senate democrats Fracture, GOP Gains Control Of Senate, Gay Marriage Dead?

Gay marriage may be dead in the New York State senate, as the GOP gains control of that legislative body from the Democrats. Here's a little of my pending article on this:

More shenanigans in Albany! At this hour, the New York State Republicans are announcing that "Hiram Monserrate and Pedro Espada Jr. - are poised to announce that they have decided to cross the aisle and caucus with the Republicans out of anger at Senate Majority Leader Malcolm Smith." Dean Skelos, a Republican, has replaced Smith as Senate Majority Leader. This from the NYT, NYDN, GOP, AP, and WNBC, as further reports indicate the floor fighting has broken out over two key issues: the removal of Sen. Neil Breslin (D-Albany) as Senate president. He was replaced, 32-30, by Sen. George Winner, (R-Utica), which shows that 2 Dems (Moserrate and Espada) are voting with the GOP.

The second issue is, of course, gay marriage, which was to die in committee if not voted on before the end of the session on June 22. Sen. Ruben Diaz, Sr. (D-South Bronx), the most vociferous opponent of the gay-marriage bill, was said to be considering changing parties if Sen. Smith (D-St. Albans) brought the bill to a vote. With the bill beginning to gain undecided votes, Diaz was pulling out all the stops to prevent its passage, along with Sen. George Onorato (R-Astoria).
I still strongly suspect, as do some media pundits around NYC, that there was a back-room deal between Smith and Diaz NOT to put the gay-marriage bill up for a vote. But if Smith saw a clear mandate from the Senate to bring a vote (and made a motion on the floor), Diaz would declare Jihad on the remaining Senate Democrats.

This after a HUGE turnout of registered voters in support of gay marriage at Pride events in Staten Island, Queens, Hudson Valley, and Utica (!) over the weekend. I personally marched with City Council Speaker Christine Quinn (D-Chelsea) in Queens Pride to show my support for this issue.

Sure enough, Monday morning came, and fireworks went off in Albany. As I see it, gay marrige is a dead issue in New York for the time being, with these developments...did gay marriage fracture the Democrats?

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