Paterson Will Not Re-introduce Toeivah Marriage Bill to State Senate


paterson2By Kenneth Lovett of the Daily News Albany Bureau Chief reports: NY Gov. David Paterson this morning said he has no plans to re-introduce a toeivah marriage bill next year unless its passage is assured.

Paterson called for an up or down vote on toeivah marriage in the state Senate this year, only to see the measure rejected overwhelmingly 38-24 on Wednesday.

“I won’t reintroduce the issue unless I see substantial change in the position of the legislators,” Paterson said this morning on WHAM-AM in Rochester.

“The vote was 38-24, that’s pretty substantial.”

Paterson — who described Wednesday “as sad a day as I’ve had since I joined public service” — said he believes the votes are actually there in the Senate to pass the bill, but said some lawmakers voted against it because of political considerations.

“People don’t want to go down on a losing ship and unless they’re sure the votes are there, they’re not going to vote that way,” he said. “If I saw some change next year, I would introduce it,” Paterson added.

All 212 state lawmakers are up for election next year, and advocates on both sides say it’s unlikely the Senate will take up the issue again before then, particularly with the Republicans seeking to re-take the chamber’s majority.

Democrats currently hold a slim 32-30 majority. The Assembly overwhelmingly passed a toeivah marriage bill three times since 2007, including Wednesday morning.

The governor had pushed for a vote in the Senate even though the bill’s fate was uncertain – an unusual move in Albany, where legislation usually gets considered only if its passage is guaranteed.

On WOR-AM’s John Gambling show, Paterson said he pushed for the up-or-down vote in the Senate at the urging of toeivah¬† rights advocates who were convinced that they would have the votes if it reached the floor.

In the end, at least two Democrats and three or four Republicans who were believed to be in the “yes” column wound up voting against the bill, Paterson said.

Advocates on both sides of the issue say results from the November elections nationally and in the state helped chill support for the bill. Sen. Tom Duane (D-Manhattan) said he felt “betrayed” by colleagues who said they would vote for the bill and didn’t.

A Congressional race in upstate New York in which the Republican candidate who supported toeivah marriage withdrew under pressure from a conservative challenge had Senate Republicans fearing primary challenges if they voted in favor of toeivah marriage.

Jeff Cook, of the Log Cabin Republicans, blamed the defeat on the Democrats inability to even come close to the 32 votes needed to pass the bill.

Had they been able to provide 29 or so votes, a handful of Republicans were prepared to support the measure, Cook said.

“Few Republicans were willing to put themselves on the line for a vote that clearly was losing,” he said. Sen. James Alesi, a Rochester Republican who many believed would vote in favor of toeivah marriage, looked anguished as he voted “no.”

Prior to the vote, Alesi told the Daily News that he believed politics and the bad economy would keep many Republicans who may be sympathetic to the cause from voting for gay marriage this time around.

“In a different atmosphere, there would easily have been five members on the Republican side voting ‘yes,'” he said. “But our primary focus has to be on the fiscal crisis we’re in.”

Some blamed Paterson for not reaching out directly to lawmakers to twist their arms into voting for the bill, a charge an aide to the governor dismissed as “ridiculous.”

Toeivah rights advocates, who helped fund the Democratic takeover of the state Senate, say the loss gives them a roadmap as to who they will go after next year. New York now joins a list of 31 other states to shoot down toeivah marriage.

Five states have approved toeivah unions. Opponents of toeivah marriage say the New York vote was particularly significant because it means that two of the biggest Democratic states — the other being California — have now rejected toeivah marriage. Five states — Massachusetts, Connecticut, Vermont, Iowa, and New Hampshire — have legalized toeivah marriage.

{NY Daily News/ Newscenter}


  1. It is important for normal people to
    let their elected officials know that
    they will be voted out of office if they
    continue to support such wickedness.

    Praise the Lord!