Gay Marriage | Ken Mehlman | New York | News

NY Senator Greg Ball Wanted Dick Cheney to Campaign for Him in Exchange for Marriage 'Yes' Vote


A few odds and ends on last week's historic vote in New York.

New York's marriage equality victory gets the Taiwanese animation treatment.


The NYT has an interesting follow-up piece on last Friday's marriage equality victory and some of the dealmaking that went on to get it done, as well as how it nearly fell apart.

Ball One interesting bit in the piece regards Senator Greg Ball, who voted "no" but used his status as an undecided to soak up media attention in the days and weeks before doing so. Ball tried to make a deal that he would vote "yes" if Dick Cheney would come campaign for him:

The advocates privately chortled. Mr. Cheney had recently had major heart surgery and the possibility that he would travel to New York to endorse a state senator seemed beyond slim.

Mr. Ball, of Putnam County, eventually voted no. But he said he did not regret his request.

“As far as Cheney,” he explained by e-mail, “we suggested the need to have nationally prominent conservatives ready to support moderate Republicans willing to support either civil unions or marriage equality, in tough primaries.

”Hopefully, they listened, because some of these voting yes are going to have a tough re-election fights.”

The Daily Beast calls Ken Mehlman an "unlikely hero" in NY's marriage equality victory:

On June 6, two weeks before the legislative session was officially set to end, Mehlman was back in the state capitol to drive his argument home. He met one-on-one with 13 lawmakers, including the four Republican state senators who eventually voted in favor of the bill. Mehlman took pains not to draw too much attention to his efforts. As his friend, Bill Smith, political director at the Gill Action Fund, a gay-rights organization that orchestrated the conservative lobbying in New York, puts it, “he has been careful not to leave many fingerprints, like people who are looking for credit.” But the four Republican votes ended a deadlocked legislative session and made New York the sixth, largest, and most influential state to adopt same-sex marriage.

Assemblyman Daniel O'Donnell talks about the victory in a CNN interview.

Divorce lawyers are excited about the news.

Clips of Governor Andrew Cuomo, NYC City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, and Senator Tom Duane at the NYC Pride parade, and Next Media Animation's clip about the marriage equality victory, AFTER THE JUMP...

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  1. Not sure I want credit Ken Mehlman with anything regarding this at this point....

    Posted by: David B. | Jun 27, 2011 2:26:04 PM

  2. As I've said several times before on Towleroad, people need to just get over it on the "hate Mehlman" thing. Regardless of what might be said about the past, he is a friend now, and an influential one. So let's just welcome him with open arms -- just like we did with Ted Olson.

    Posted by: Rich | Jun 27, 2011 2:33:19 PM

  3. Mehlman is doing his best to atone for his past. I would give him the benefit of the doubt here. He may have secured the vote.

    Posted by: John | Jun 27, 2011 2:43:20 PM

  4. Could Senator Ball be a bigger slimeball? How can anyone trust this man?

    Posted by: plaintom | Jun 27, 2011 2:46:14 PM

  5. It's hilarious that Mehlman allegedly doesn't want credit, but now his surrogates are suggesting he -- not Bloomberg or Cuomo -- Pushed this thing over the top. After the damage he did from the inside in Bush's campaign -- and it continues in its effects nationwide -- I don't trust him. Never will.

    Posted by: Greg | Jun 27, 2011 2:50:57 PM

  6. We have to have a presence in the Republican Party if we want to get any legislation passed. That was proved in the case of DADT repeal and proved in this instance, as well. So those of you who continue to be hostile towards Mehlman and who insist on tarring and feathering any gay Republican should think about that.

    You don't have to like Republicans in general or agree with them on most things (I don't, myself)--but you should be sensible enough to realize that ghettoizing ourselves in one party would not be a smart move and would allow the Democrats to take us for granted and the Republicans to ignore us completely.

    Posted by: Rick | Jun 27, 2011 2:54:35 PM

  7. Senator Grisanti -- courage and conviction


    Senator Ball -- spineless media whore

    Considering both men are from the same party, the contrasts couldn't be brighter.

    Posted by: Jollysocks | Jun 27, 2011 3:01:59 PM

  8. Mehlman can be forgiven for his actions but he is forever tainted in the arena. I don't want him around politics, he is not trustworthy and any atonement won't change that but we can totally forgive him and treat him nice. He doesn't need total forgiveness and he doesn't deserve eternal hate.

    Posted by: Fenrox | Jun 27, 2011 3:04:42 PM

  9. "We have to have a presence in the Republican Party if we want to get any legislation passed."

    The Republican paarty has to have a presence in the 21st Century to have any relevance whatsoever.

    Posted by: David Ehrenstein | Jun 27, 2011 3:06:53 PM

  10. If Cheney died before the campaign would Ball get his vote back? Or would Cheney record a "from the grave" endorsement video just in case he kicked it before the campaign? Just what were the terms of this deal?

    Posted by: Anastasia Beaverhausen | Jun 27, 2011 3:41:17 PM

  11. Agree with you completely on both points, Greg. It's barely 48 hours after our victory and already we're hearing these accounts about Mehlman from his surrogates. It's hardly convincing that he wasn't looking for credit for any efforts he did make.

    Posted by: Patric | Jun 27, 2011 3:59:01 PM

  12. I think I want all my US news via Taiwanese cartoons. I loved it when the firebreathing lesbians tore the President a new one! I wonder if he saw this?

    Posted by: Leroy Laflamme | Jun 27, 2011 4:07:21 PM

  13. He voted no because he couldn't get Dick.

    Posted by: LetSodomRing | Jun 27, 2011 4:19:17 PM

  14. would Ball's request of Cheney qualify as political posturing, arm twisting, or blackmail?

    Posted by: mike/ | Jun 27, 2011 4:30:46 PM

  15. Having Dick Cheney campaign for him makes sense though, since neither one supports same-sex marriage.

    Posted by: BobN | Jun 27, 2011 5:10:19 PM

  16. That news cartoon was the best. NYT had a very interesting article about the behind the scenes negotiations that lead to the marriage equality victory.

    Posted by: jaragon | Jun 27, 2011 5:35:51 PM

  17. Wow, the pro-Mehlman guys are really naive. As other commenters have pointed out, the fact that we're hearing about this so soon is coming from him via surrogates. He wants his fingerprints all over this—and may not even deserve that credit, who knows?—yet wants us to forget his fingerprints that are all over the many state Constitutions that were amended to codify marriage inequality? (That's just for starters and just focusing on his anti-gay "accomplishments.")

    Posted by: Matthew Rettenmund | Jun 27, 2011 5:36:27 PM

  18. Rick is right. Just being a Hallelujah Chorus for the Democrat Party does nothing but marginalize our community. Keep it up, but don't wonder why we get taken for granted.

    Posted by: LincolnLounger | Jun 27, 2011 5:48:10 PM

  19. Uh no, LINCOLN LOUNGER, DAVID EHRENSTEIN was right (and witty).

    Posted by: David R. | Jun 27, 2011 6:06:38 PM

  20. “he has been careful not to leave many fingerprints, like people who are looking for credit.”

    Um, more like a slimy criminal adept at the art of committing crimes.

    Posted by: kc | Jun 27, 2011 7:38:34 PM

  21. A commenter asked "Could Sen. Ball be a bigger slimeball?" The answer is: Yes. Google him and learn about how his office created a fake email account in the name of a real constituent, so that he could pass on to the local paper some self-praise in the constituent's name. The local paper gets suspicious and starts looking into it. So Ball's office calls the constituent and tells her that if she keeps her mouth shut, Ball will take care of whatever she needs.

    Very sleazy. Although by the standards of the NY Senate, this is very mild.

    Posted by: Timmy | Jun 27, 2011 8:25:32 PM

  22. @TIMMY: Thanks for the imfo. Karma is going to bite his ass bad.

    Posted by: PLAINTOM | Jun 27, 2011 9:02:17 PM

  23. @BobN: actually Cheney supports marriage equality. He also supported DADT repeal quite a few years ago, calling it "an old chestnut" in 1990 when he was secretary of defense. Like many Republicans (hello, the brave few in NY), his mind was changed when he had a family member who was LGBT.

    And don't bother trying to call me a closet Republican. Those are just facts. He's an evil man. I despise him and all he did under Bush. But he deeply loves his lesbian daughter, more than he loves his wife or other daughter. Not that the lesbian daughter isn't also evil; it's just another sign of GOP hypocrisy.

    Posted by: Paul R | Jun 27, 2011 10:26:01 PM

  24. @ Rich: Mehlman's a friend now? I wouldn't take that to the bank.

    Posted by: Danny | Jun 28, 2011 7:19:20 AM

  25. @Mike: do you think a minnow like Ball can threaten blackmail to a shark like Cheney??

    Posted by: Danny | Jun 28, 2011 7:25:15 AM

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