NY Senate Stuck On Same-Gender Marriage Law…For Now


cuomoOld-time, backroom politics faced down hundreds of chanting protesters from each side of the highly charged same-gender marriage debate in New York ontoday as the issue stalled again over whether religious groups could be protected from discrimination charges under a same-same-gender marriage law.

And Albany’s notoriously entrenched politics won, for now.

After a three-hour conference behind closed doors, while groups from each side waited in a stifling hot hallway, Senate Republicans emerged without comment. A vote within the conference to even move the bill to the floor for final legislative approval was pushed to at least tomorrow as private negotiations continue between Republican Senate leader Dean Skelos and Democratic Governor Andrew Cuomo, who made same-same-gender marriage a major initiative.

New York’s vote is pivotal in the national question over same-same-gender marriage, an effort that largely stalled in the same room two years ago when the Senate voted it down. Since then, efforts have failed in New Jersey, Rhode Island and Maryland. Advocates hope a “yes” vote in the nation’s third-most populous state will jumpstart the effort. 

Skelos worries a federal judge could strike down flimsy religious protections in the current proposal if a religious group, such as the Knights of Columbus, is sued for discrimination for refusing to provide its hall for a same-gender wedding. Skelos wants protections that will allow a religious group to observe its principles without conflicting with a same-gender marriage law.

“I think that’s critically important,” Skelos said.

Same-same-gender marriage has entered the uncertainty of the final days of the session in Albany, where horse trading over unrelated issues brokered in private is the norm, and where measures can be weakened or dropped, followed by a fast exit. In this case, same-gender marriage is now tied to resuming and possibly strengthening the New York City rent control law sought by Democrats and a proposed cap on property taxes statewide, pushed by Cuomo and Republicans.

It was a disappointment for both sides of the same-gender marriage issue, some of whom had expected a decision a week ago.

The day’s uncommon, but peaceful demonstrations today included a group in the nearby Capitol park.

“If this passes, we will become Sodom and Gomorrah,” said 80-year-old Ginny Winn, of Delmar in Albany County.

“It’s against God, it’s against the Holy Torah. It will have a terrible influence on children and it will destroy all humanity,” said Rabbi Yoel Loeb of Brooklyn.

Democratic Sen. Ruben Diaz Sr., a Bronx minister who has led the opposition, said he now considers the legalization of same-same-gender marriage inevitable in New York, but he’s unsure how the Senate will vote. He said Cuomo is exerting unprecedented pressure to get Republicans to approve his bill.

State troopers were called to the Senate chamber floor as the two groups started to merge and talk with each other, but there was no escalation in the jammed hallways that turned stifling hot from the number of people and TV cameras. Most were respectful and kept to their own groups.

Former New York Giants player David Tyree was among the celebrities on both sides of the issue. He said in Albany on Monday that God may have given him the ability to make his stunning, one-handed catch to help the Giants win the Super Bowl in 2007 so he would have a platform to oppose same-gender marriage today.

“I am not a political person, but same-gender marriage isn’t a political issue,” he said. “This not about right and left, but about right and wrong.”

The Assembly has already passed the measure. Negotiations are expected to continue Tuesday.

{The Associated Press/Matzav.com Newscenter}


  1. The Senate must also allow incestual (immediate family members)and polygamous (multi-party) marriages. Otherwise, their shouting of “marriage equality” and “marriage freedom” rings hollow. Surpisingly, we do not see any placards to this effect. Nor do we hear any voices promoting TRUE marriage equality or marriage freedom. If incestual and polygamous marriage restrictions remain in place, then the Senate can not approved the redefinition of marriage. Thank you.

  2. Keep calling, we’re obviously making a dent:

    Call Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos and tell the one who answers that you do not want the bill to come to the floor for a vote. His number is 518-455-3171.
    In addition, call your local State Senator and tell him you that are against the bill. Tell him that if he votes for the bill there will be negative ramifications in the next election. you can find out who your senator is by going to: http://www.nysenate.gov/senators