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NY's Gov Paterson: From 'Hands-On' to 'Hands-Off' on Gay Marriage

Elizabeth Benjamin of the New York Daily News reports that New York Governor David Paterson, who has several times expressed his gung-ho enthusiasm for marriage equality in the state, is adopting a more "hands-off" approach now that the New York Senate Democrats' "gang of three" have done their deal-brokering:

Kruger"A source close to the gang said the plan is to have the same-sex marriage bill introduced, determined to have fiscal implications (although I'm not exactly certain what those might be) and referred to the Finance Committee, which, assuming the agreement between the gang and Smith sticks, will be headed by Sen. Carl Kruger, who could stop the measure in its tracks. And that might be why Sen. Ruben Diaz Sr. says he feels "comfortable that everything's going to be OK" when asked whether his demands that a gay marriage bill not be brought to the floor for a vote were met. Of course, bringing to the bill up for a vote when there aren't enough votes to pass it doesn't make sense for Smith anyway. But it is kind of ironic that in this new era of openness and reform, the first thing the Senate Democrats are going to do is bottle up a bill in committee. Asked last night at state Comptroller Tom DiNapoli's fundraiser at the Roosevelt Hotel whether he wants to see the marriage bill brought to the floor of a Senate, Gov. David Paterson adopted a hands-off approach, saying: 'I supported same-sex marriage legislation when I was running for lieutenant governor with Governor Spitzer, and we had advocated for its passage and we are ready to have it passed at any time. But now my role is not as a legislator but is to sign the bill when and if the Legislature ever passes it, which I will do.'"

PatersonYou may remember a much different tone in the speech Paterson gave at the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force's 2008 New York Leadership Awards, which you can watch, AFTER THE JUMP...

Said Paterson: "Marriage equality in NY may not come just this moment but it is no longer an issue mostly for conviction, it is an issue for courage. People more and more understand that when people love each other they should express it in whatever way they deem necessary and possible. They should have all the rights that the rest of us have. And so, we willl push on and bring full marriage equality to New York State. And when we have done that, we're going to do more. We're going to protect young people from bullies. We're going to protect against the discrimination of people in the transgender community, and we're going to fight for decent and affordable healthcare for all citizens in this state. If you will join with me, and if we work hard enough, we can change the face of New York, which will be the catalyst to changing national policy."

Watch Paterson's NGLTF speech, AFTER THE JUMP...

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Comments

  1. What's that make down the middle of my back??!!??

    Oh, it's the bus tire track.

    Posted by: Will | Dec 8, 2008 12:29:30 PM


  2. MARK, not make.

    Sorry.

    Posted by: Will | Dec 8, 2008 12:42:30 PM


  3. REALITY CHECK

    Patterson is the person who pushed the executive order which is now allowing my friends marriage to be recognized in NY state. No on before him did that. It's not perfect, because it hurts low income gay people like some of my other friends (they can get a civil union, but not a marriage). But, it's a fight he's clearly willing to engage. He did so in the face of a lot of threats.

    So as you attempt to smear him, place it in context.

    I know the gays here, who are pretty ignorant, will not get it. But this was huge.

    The reality is that we got to get the votes. If we do not have the votes, what do you want him to do about it?

    The reality is that we are now facing a huge economic crisis- which apparently is not affecting any of you.

    Posted by: The Gay Numbers | Dec 8, 2008 1:08:27 PM


  4. Why is it ever appropriate to use discrimination as a bargaining chip? If this were a bill prohibiting interracial marriage or Latino rights or devaluing the disabled, people would be all over this agreement of the so-called "gang of three." But because it's gay marriage it's cool, right?

    Posted by: Larry | Dec 8, 2008 1:33:28 PM


  5. @THE GAY NUMBERS: How does eliminating discrimination against a minority group impede the fight to improve the economy?

    Posted by: peterparker | Dec 8, 2008 1:41:03 PM


  6. REALITY CHECK

    Interracial marriage was not ended through the legislative process. It came to an end due to a court case.

    Up until the early part of this decade, Bob Jones University still did not allow dating between the races. Why does this matter? Every Republican nominee , including the black one Keyes, went there to campaign as a part of the trek that the GOP made there every 4 years.

    Can we start to live in reality now?

    I am saying let's fight to get the votes. Stop wasting time deluding ourselves it will be easy or attack people for not being able to do our battles alone for us. Patterson had done what he can do. We need to now make sure he has the votes to pass marriage as a legislative bill. It's that simple.

    Posted by: The Gay Numbers | Dec 8, 2008 1:41:25 PM


  7. REALITY CHECK

    Interracial marriage was not ended through the legislative process. It came to an end due to a court case.

    Up until the early part of this decade, Bob Jones University still did not allow dating between the races. Why does this matter? Every Republican nominee , including the black one Keyes, went there to campaign as a part of the trek that the GOP made there every 4 years.

    Can we start to live in reality now?

    I am saying let's fight to get the votes. Stop wasting time deluding ourselves it will be easy or attack people for not being able to do our battles alone for us. Patterson had done what he can do. We need to now make sure he has the votes to pass marriage as a legislative bill. It's that simple.

    Posted by: The Gay Numbers | Dec 8, 2008 1:42:20 PM


  8. The reality is that we got to get the votes. If we do not have the votes, what do you want him to do about it?
    ---------------
    I want him to grow a spine and stand up for what is right, not just what is politically smart for his keeping his job.

    Paterson is going to face some strong opposition when he runs and the gay vote will matter in the primary.

    Posted by: patrick nyc | Dec 8, 2008 1:49:44 PM


  9. Peter Parker:

    Let me start with a quote:

    "Almighty God created the races white, black, yellow, malay and red, and he placed them on separate continents. And but for the
    interference with his arrangement there would be no cause for such marriages. The fact that he separated the races shows that he did not intend for the races to mix. " — Statement by Virginia trial judge in 1959 case that led to 1967 U.S. Supreme Court striking down laws in 16 states that prohibited interracial marriage"

    The comparable time to the economic issues facing the country right now are , in fact, the 1930s. There was no civil rights movement with any meaningful legal impact for blacks at that time.

    There were rights, etc, but no meaningful advancements other than the small bits of movement in the Courts. This movement was a 50 year long strategy by the NAACP Legal Defense Fund that would not have any real impact until the 1950s. T

    he 1930s laid the groundwork. None of that groundwork was legislative. The bulk of Black civil rights legal framework occurred in the 1950s and 60s- one of the most expansive periods in U.S. economic history. Loving v. Virginia did not happen until the 1960s. Again, that was Court based. I endorse the Court strategy as one among many. I also endorse pushing legislative, grassroots, religious and other agendas to win.

    Let's discuss the legislative impact of the civil rights efforts. This effort had its major thrust in the 1960s when the national Democrats passed the Civil Rights Acts. The result was the rise of the Southern Strategy which the GOP used as a wedge issue even until today.

    I should once again make it clear I am not saying give up. I'm telling you all of this to bring back reality to how we fight. We need to find the votes in the legislature. Attacking Patterson as not pushing our agenda is silly. He has pushed it as far as he can, and now it's time for us to get people elected who will push our agenda. That's the real problem. We do not have th votes,and the NY courts have already screwed us.

    Posted by: The Gay Numbers | Dec 8, 2008 1:54:44 PM


  10. Peter Parker:

    Let me start with a quote:

    "Almighty God created the races white, black, yellow, malay and red, and he placed them on separate continents. And but for the
    interference with his arrangement there would be no cause for such marriages. The fact that he separated the races shows that he did not intend for the races to mix. " — Statement by Virginia trial judge in 1959 case that led to 1967 U.S. Supreme Court striking down laws in 16 states that prohibited interracial marriage"

    The comparable time to the economic issues facing the country right now are , in fact, the 1930s. There was no civil rights movement with any meaningful legal impact for blacks at that time.

    There were rights, etc, but no meaningful advancements other than the small bits of movement in the Courts. This movement was a 50 year long strategy by the NAACP Legal Defense Fund that would not have any real impact until the 1950s. T

    he 1930s laid the groundwork. None of that groundwork was legislative. The bulk of Black civil rights legal framework occurred in the 1950s and 60s- one of the most expansive periods in U.S. economic history. Loving v. Virginia did not happen until the 1960s. Again, that was Court based. I endorse the Court strategy as one among many. I also endorse pushing legislative, grassroots, religious and other agendas to win.

    Let's discuss the legislative impact of the civil rights efforts. This effort had its major thrust in the 1960s when the national Democrats passed the Civil Rights Acts. The result was the rise of the Southern Strategy which the GOP used as a wedge issue even until today.

    I should once again make it clear I am not saying give up. I'm telling you all of this to bring back reality to how we fight. We need to find the votes in the legislature. Attacking Patterson as not pushing our agenda is silly. He has pushed it as far as he can, and now it's time for us to get people elected who will push our agenda. That's the real problem. We do not have th votes,and the NY courts have already screwed us.

    Posted by: The Gay Numbers | Dec 8, 2008 1:55:40 PM


  11. Wow, Gay Numbers, I would like to see your empirical analysis of how "the gays here" are "pretty ignorant." Since you did not define "the gays here," then I assume includes both commenters and lurkers alike. You seem so into the idea of reality and reality checks, yet you are quick to paint others with a broad brush, which has made me, at least, look at your ideas with more skepticism and distance than before. No matter how good or bad your arguments are, your attitude can definitely hurt your goal. More tact and humility might make your words go farther.

    Posted by: Math2 | Dec 8, 2008 1:58:42 PM


  12. RE PATTERSON LACKING SPINE?

    Wait? So, now Patterson has no spine?

    Wow, and this is why I say many of you are either trolls or idiots, and consequently need to be side lined. The thing I liked about watching Milk was that Milk was both an activist and a smart politician. I don't see any smarts in this diary at all.

    REALITY CHECK ON THE SPINE

    a) He pushed the executive order that I mentioned without any approval by the legislature, a Court case that already said that gay marriage was subject to minimal judicial protection, afterward he faced law suits, and he passed this without any certainty regarding public support. This order allows marriage to be recognized from other states here in NY.

    b) And yes, as activist, if you are that, your job is to get the votes to pass this.

    c) If you think some other figure is going to be better, you are deluding yourself. Who will support us here? A Republican? Don't be nuts. Another Democrat? Okay, which one?

    This is just all ignorance and blustering here.

    Posted by: The Gay Numbers | Dec 8, 2008 2:01:58 PM


  13. Now you get a sense of how trans people felt after HRC and Barney Frank pulled the rug out from under gender identity/expression inclusive ENDA (which BTW would've covered not only trans people but anyone deemed not sufficiently straight-acting.)

    And yeah, it sucks to be told to sit patiently on your hands because "it's not time yet." Time to get out there and prove that wrong.

    (FWIW, I've been working for marriage equality in CA -- even though it doesn't affect me personally because I'm not interested in marriage -- not just because also affects trans people, but because it's simply the right thing to do. Not to mention the symbolic value, just as ENDA has huge symbolic value.)

    Posted by: Lena Dahlstrom | Dec 8, 2008 2:06:45 PM


  14. Why would you assume that I am discussing any gay folk other than the ones who have spoken since they are the only opinions I have seen and to whom I have responded? Why would anyone have to address the generally unseen audience here rather than specific comments made?

    Posted by: The Gay Numbers | Dec 8, 2008 2:10:43 PM


  15. Why would you assume that I am discussing any gay folk other than the ones who have spoken since they are the only opinions I have seen and to whom I have responded? Why would anyone have to address the generally unseen audience here rather than specific comments made?

    Posted by: The Gay Numbers | Dec 8, 2008 2:12:32 PM


  16. Well, it didn't take long, did it? Once again, the Queer community gets "stuffed". Did anyone get kissed? I didn't. Ruben Diaz, Sr. is scum. He is a worthless, shameless hypocrite. How nice that he is "happy" that everything in the NY Senate will now be "OK". And of course, Dave will fulfill his role as the Signer and await the Senate and Chamber to legislate and, of course he will SIGN the bill once it reaches his desk. That is his job. Courage took a hike in Albany, as it always does, and was replaced by brazen political backstabbing and deal-making. Queers are the losers. Once again. The money we donate to candidates doesn't matter. The support and endorsements and foot-work we do for candidates doesn't matter. It is now apparent, because of three assholes, our lives do not matter either. So, now what? Another on-line petition? More angry letters? Shall we "jam" the Albany phone-lines? Why not hunt down the "Gang of Three" and beat the living hell out of them? Might not get gay marriage legalized, but damn! It sure would feel good, wouldn't it?

    Posted by: mike | Dec 8, 2008 2:25:59 PM


  17. It's sad to see a decent man like Patterson crumble under the pressure and give in to such blatent discrimination. I hope the "gang of 3" get all they want for xmas since they've fucked over all those gay couples in New York City.
    I'm glad my Mayor Gavin Newsom had the BALLS to actually do the right thing FOUR years ago when EVERY politician told him to "WAIT". Gavin for Governor! :)

    Posted by: SFshawn | Dec 8, 2008 2:34:04 PM


  18. Our patience is baffling.

    Posted by: John Bisceglia | Dec 8, 2008 2:44:08 PM


  19. Paterson went from supporting us to, as the article says,

    'Gov. David Paterson adopted a hands-off approach, saying: 'I supported same-sex marriage legislation when I was running for lieutenant governor with Governor Spitzer, and we had advocated for its passage and we are ready to have it passed at any time. But now my role is not as a legislator but is to sign the bill when and if the Legislature ever passes it, which I will do.'"

    That is what I was responding to. It's politically safe cover to say I'm for it, but not to call the 'gang of three' on the bs they are pulling behind closed doors.

    While you may not agree I don't think you have a clue of what you are talking about. That is clear by your statement of 'the gays here'.

    As for Bob Jones, the only reason blacks and latins could date there was from all the bad press when Bush announced he was running for president from there.

    I often criticized my brother for sending his kids there, being that before hand he and his latina wife could not date there.

    Posted by: patrick nyc | Dec 8, 2008 2:52:58 PM


  20. Patience would a) imply that you have worked to change things or b) that you have waited a long time which in civil rights terms you have not.

    Posted by: The Gay Numbers | Dec 8, 2008 2:54:41 PM


  21. (sniff...sniff) What's that smell?

    Posted by: John Bisceglia | Dec 8, 2008 3:03:01 PM


  22. That would be all the hot air coming from NUMBERS ass.

    Posted by: patrick nyc | Dec 8, 2008 3:19:32 PM


  23. You did not address commenters. You said "I know the gays here, who are pretty ignorant, will not get it." I am a gay, and I am here. Pretty simple 1 + 1 = 2 stuff going on there. Be more specific if you do not want to be misunderstood. Plus, there was only one comment above yours that you were responding to, but you did not address them specifically, so it's natural to assume that when you said "gays here," you meant in general.

    Posted by: MATH2 | Dec 8, 2008 3:29:28 PM


  24. Is it POSSIBLE that Patterson has toned down his public rhetoric on gay rights because of the gang of three, but is no less committed? Is it POSSIBLE he's still making efforts behind closed doors?

    I wish I saw fewer knee-jerk reactions to posted items and more "questioning" of items.

    Gay voters are important, but the Dems in NY State probably didn't and don't "need" gay voters. (He & Spitzer won with 69% of the vote and Patterson is seen as more personable than Spitzer.) It would have been easy for Patterson to do nothing, yet he passed an executive order recognizing out of state marriages TWO MONTHS after he was sworn in. Why would anyone not committed to gay rights do that? And, polls in NY State indicated that there was opposition to him doing this by executive order. (There was preference for legislative action.)

    Given that, I would wager that Patterson is no less committed to gay rights. He probably realizes he's got to handle things differently in order to get ahead given the "gang of three."

    As for patience, if you're not in the majority and you're fighting a civil rights struggle, how can you not be patient? Patience allows you to take the wins and the losses and not give up. Impatience could get you to act rashly. I don't think that's helpful.

    Posted by: Brandon | Dec 8, 2008 4:10:29 PM


  25. Heterosexuals screwed up the economy particularly black and Latino after they bought homes and junk they couldn't afford. Now gay people are losing their jobs, losing their rights or having their rights delayed because of heterosexuals. It is not justifable and it isn't right.

    Posted by: Cristobal | Dec 8, 2008 4:18:00 PM


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