New York Democrats Strike Deal; Same-Sex Marriage Vote Tossed

A big deal went down between Democrats in the New York Senate today forged by pressure from the so-called gang of three (Sen. Carl Kruger, Sen.-elect Pedro Espada Jr., and Sen. Ruben Diaz), and the likeliness of a same-sex marriage vote coming to pass in the next session of the legislature went down the tube as a result, even though the deal gives Democrats a solid majority.

SmithThe New York Daily News has the details.

And here’s the unacceptable part:

“A bill to legalize same-sex marriage will not be brought to the floor of the Senate for a vote this year. Smith will announce that he does not believe the measure has sufficient votes to pass – a statement that is at this point undoubtedly true, although it’s unclear how long that will last if, as Democrats are hoping, the prospect of being in the minority leads to mass GOP retirements.”

If you’re on Facebook (especially in NY), you may want to join this group. The name is about to be changed. The new group will serve to:

1. Gather support nationwide to show our opposition to these Senators.
2. Organize demonstrations that will make these Senators feel our political power and show our political support for Malcolm Smith.
3. Organize efforts to oppose any effort on the part of these legislators to interfere with the pursuit of marriage equality in New York, be it legislatively or by referendum.

New York Marriage Equality Bill a Big Question Mark [tr]
A Thanksgiving Thaw for New York Democrats? [tr]
‘Rogue’ NY Senate Democrats Use ‘Gay Marriage’ as Bargaining Chip [tr]


  1. Sargon Bighorn says

    NEWS HEADLINE: Black law maker stands in the way of Civil Rights 2008! NY Gay Citizens, you know what time it is? Time to get loud, get out there, let them know The Fight for Civil Rights is not over.

  2. MCnNYC says

    funny how the religious latino senator complained that all the leaders in NY were black and wanted affirmative action taken on his behalf dicriminates in the name of his “god” to deny equal rights to citizens AND everyone is not only happy but gets reelected and the poor second class citizens continue to fill the campaign coffers of DEMOCRATIC BIGOTS!

  3. John says


    Exactly. If the gang of three can throw a temper tandrum to derail same-sex marriage, then what’s the point of having a Democratic majority in the State Senate anyway? Maybe the gay lawmakers should just vote “abstain” or “present” on the Democrats’ legislative agenda to express their displeasure. After all, it worked for Barack Obama.

  4. The Gay Numbers says


    I loved Milk.

    You want to know why? He got politics even as he was trying to remain an activist for his community.

    Here’s the reality. The Democrats won a bare majority. That means that anyone can hold a gun to that bare majorities head, especially in the middle of a state wide economic melt down. That’s the nature of these sorts of situations.

    The state is facing one of the most difficult economic periods in decades.

    The law makers it sounds like to me were faced with a certain defeat on gay marriage this term plus an obstructionist minority of state Senators plus this economic reality. I am not excusing it, but it does point to a bare majority of Democrats not being enough due to conservative Democrats.

    This is what Milk kept trying to teach Dan White during the movie. You got to play politics to get the votes. White would never figure out how to get the votes. Milk did. So he got his agenda passed.


    It’s not enough to have a bare majority. We have to win several more seats so that these obstructionists will not matter. Think of them like Lieberman or Blue Dog Democrats in Congress.

    Right now, like with the Blue Dogs in Congress, the conservative NY Senate Democrats are able to call the shots because of the tight need for absolute party unity over the economic crisis. If you want to change that, change the number of Democrats and their composition. Focus on low hanging fruit. Incumbents are not low hanging fruits.

    We have to hope for more GOP retirements.

    The GOP will not help because they have mad it clear how they will vote on this issue.

    I think our chance for success are more and better Democrats due to the political reality.

    Now, if you want to argue against that reality. I would love to hear it. But general rants are not going to change a thing.

    I agree with the post Towleroad that you should be organizing. But realize for what purpose you are organizing.

  5. Jeremy says

    I’m ANGRY. But here are my immediate ideas:

    1. We should not stop trying to pressure these three on putting marriage to a vote. We should redouble our efforts.

    2. A concerted campaign to throw each one out of office in the next elections should begin NOW. And I’ve had enough of putting my faith in straight lawmakers–let’s follow Harvey Milk’s advice and elect GAY leaders. We need GAY power.

  6. Zeke says

    Aren’t these the same people who bitch and moan when 4 or 5 individuals (i.e. “activist judges”) overrule the will of the majority.

    Funny how they don’t say a word when a SINGLE person (say a California Governor) or THREE rogue individual Senators pitch a tantrum, stomp their feet and overrule the will of the majority of the people’s representatives.

    Typical fundamentalist Christianist hyocrisy.

  7. Sargon Bighorn says

    OMG! Did you guys just read what most of us have said. We’re talking like INTELLIGENT FOLKS AT LAST. I did not hear on person calling someone else an ASS. And everyone of you gents has got it, Organize Organize Organize (and accessorize too honey).

  8. The Gay Numbers says


    I see people wanting to do something, but many are engaged in time wasters of a) fight Senators in safe districts rather than going around them or b) railing against Democrats without understanding the legislative process or how to win by obtaining the power in the form of votes in the Senate. Rather than expecting politicians to not be politicians, we need to use this as a movement. No one ever seem to get this.

    As I said, the lesson from Milk is to understand how to gain power. We were the first on the chopping block because of the power dynamics, but if the gays are smart (I am not holding my breath. We are good at outrage and drama, but not smart.), we will try things like my suggestion or other approaches of similar effect to change it.

    Can we deliver anything to the Democrats in the form of additional Senators who will help them get around the Gang of 3? If we can, then the Gang of 3 will not matter, and we win. It’s that simple.

  9. noah says

    Sargon Bighorn,

    The “Black law maker” pictured above, Malcolm Smith, is pro-gay marriage! He’s the one who fought the 3 rogue Democrats to get them in line.

    And, if you bothered to do your research, the 3 Democrats who are against gay marriage are of different races. Shocking!

    Congratulations for being a moron for blaming a “Black law maker” and ignoring the facts. Jerk!

  10. RB says

    Ok, really, is anyone shocked by this? I am trying to hold back the venom, but this is exactly what pisses me off. So many of us accept dems as better for us and that I am the evil one for being a repub?!

    Obama has already thrown us under the bus with tabling DADT before he even takes the oath of office. And when I complained about it here, virtually everyone jumped to his defense and blasted me. However, he made only TWO promises over and over; “I will cut your taxes and I will repeal DADT”. He now says 2010, midterm election year where congress is up for re-election. Yeah right! Which congressman will take up that battle in an election year when their approval ratings are lower than W!

    Pawns for both sides. The dem party panders to us and we vote for them, 70% to be exact, and for what? Empty promises? I just do not get it! NY, again, thrown under the bus by a gang of three….and they are not repubs this time!

  11. The Gay Numbers says

    That’s because those of us living in reality RB and who have followed politics don’t just think it, we can prove it. The Democrats have been better for us. There is a difference between a short term set back, and accepting your argument which has no basis in the habits of the GOP. In fact, the reason why its even close is that no one expects any of the GOP Senators to support this. If the GOP Senators did support this, the conservative Democratic Senators would irrelevant. It’s tiring to read these delusional posts not based in political reality. If we are going to win, we got to dance with the one what brung us. The Democrats are the only one offering any chance of us getting what we want at all. It was a Democrat, Gov. Paterson, who through executive order made it so that my friends can get married in another state, and have that marriage recognized here. Pataki and the GOP mayor of NYC did nothing. Facts are facts. You are entitled to your opinion, but facts are always going to trump them.

  12. Sargon Bighorn says

    NOAH: You mean there are NO BLACK LAW makers in NY that oppose Civil Marriage Equality? Is that really the case? You know them all? And you’re supposed to call me an ASS not a JERK. Honest to Pete, I bet you don’t even know how to accessorize either.

  13. The Gay Numbers says

    Well now we know certain Sargon is a racist. When faced with the fact that the gain of three are not black, he argues there must be some black somewhere against gays, and thus, Sargon’s opinion about blacks is right. And, again, the fact that the guy who gave the executive order to allow my friends to marry in MA, and have that count in NY, is black. But hey, when has a racist ever let facts stop them.

  14. ci says

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  15. dbzeag says

    What I want to know is why would it hurt putting the bill up for vote? So what it if fails? Put it up again next year, and the year after until it passes.

  16. BobN says

    “conservative NY Senate Democrats”

    Can we at least stop crediting (if that’s the right word) these folks with having some sort of over-arching political philosophy about this? Are these guys “conservative” in any other way? Granted, the word today has little connection to actually being conservative in any general or traditional sense, but it is usually associated with a bundle of political positions: opposition to abortion, pro-military, law-and-order, anti-affirmative action, anti-gay, etc.

    Does this fit the gang’s politics? If so, OK. If not, let’s just call them “anti-gay”, “prejudiced”, dare I say, “bigoted”. And, if, like most Dems, they’re liberal on many issues and are even liberal on gay issues other than same-sex marriage, then let’s work on a new word for that (me, I’d stick with “prejudiced”).

  17. TKC says

    It seems to me that Diaz is in a safe Democratic seat, so rather than hoping for GOP defections, I’d like to suggest a possible alternative: Rather than trying to replace a Republican legislator with a Democratic one, might it not be possible to replace Diaz with a more gay-friendly Democrat? I’d imagine that, if a more progressive Democrat wanted to challenge Diaz in a primary next time around, he’d get a flood of donations from gay New Yorkers (and gay folks around the country). Not only would such a switch bring New York State closer to gay marriage, it would also send a message to Democratic politicians that they can’t take our votes for granted.

    Of course, I don’t know enough about NY state politics to know who else in Diaz’s district could be persuaded to oppose him. Any state-politics enthusiasts out there who know the players in the Bronx?

  18. MCnNYC says

    @TKC everyone in NY knows that once you are in…YOU ARE IN UNTIL YOU DIE or decide to leave. That is exactly the problem here.
    By giving Diaz and these bigoted politicians more power and more MONEY for their commmittees they use it to guarantee their reelection.
    NOPE seems like ESPA and it’s members spent A LOT of money and time on turning the Senate Democratic and they and we got screwed. And worse is the do nothing gay ny senator TOM DUANE who needs to be thrown out of office and out of the community for his lack of leadership on this issue and other GLBT issues. He has no balls at all.
    And no legislative skills either.

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