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Second NY GOP Senator Comes Out in Support of Marriage Equality

New York Republican Senator Roy McDonald has said he will vote "yes" on a marriage equality bill submitted by Governor Andrew Cuomo earlier today.

Mcdonald City Room:

The senator, Roy J. McDonald, from the capital region, made his comments to reporters amid growing indications that Republican leaders would bring the bill to an up or down vote on Thursday or Friday. Three other Republican state senators, speaking on condition of anonymity because their conference had not yet formally debated the measure, said they believed the bill was almost certain to come up for a vote and that it would likely pass, making New York the sixth, and largest, state in the nation to legalize same-sex marriage.

Said McDonald: “I’m trying to do the right thing. Rather than wait I worked with the governor…I’m not out to alienate anybody. This is driven by compassion. My lifestyle is my lifestyle — I don’t want anyone telling me or my children what to do. We’ve got 20 million people in this state…we can’t be paralyzed by social issues. It’s my own evolution. I think there’s going to be a vote on Friday."

Advocates now have 31 of 32 votes needed to pass the bill.

Contact your NY Senator NOW using my Friend-setter page at Friendfactor. Or use the contact information here. Your Senator needs to hear from you.

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  1. Quote from the article at Capital Tonight:

    "So, the advocates are hoping to get at least two more Republicans to vote “yes” – preferably more, though – to provide a safety cushion, if you will. The names I’m hearing most today: Sens. Steve Saland, of the Hudson Valley; and John Flanagan of Long Island. "

    Posted by: Mike | Jun 14, 2011 4:52:11 PM

  2. Flanagan? That's a new one. Never even heard of him.

    Posted by: Bruno | Jun 14, 2011 4:53:40 PM

  3. If the Senate ties 31-31, doesn't the lieutenant governor cast the deciding vote? He's Cuomo's man, so I assume 31 is the absolute minimum for passage here. Or am I wrong?

    Posted by: Ben | Jun 14, 2011 4:54:02 PM

  4. Ben, the Lt Gov cannot cast a deciding vote on passage of a bill, only procedural matters. The NY constitution requires the assent of a majority of the members elected to each house for passage. With 62 senators, that means you need 32, period.

    Posted by: Glenn | Jun 14, 2011 4:58:41 PM

  5. "Three other Republican state senators, speaking on condition of anonymity because their conference had not yet formally debated the measure, said they believed the bill was almost certain to come up for a vote and that it would likely pass, making New York the sixth, and largest, state in the nation to legalize same-sex marriage."

    Slightly optimistic. Slightly.

    Posted by: Bruno | Jun 14, 2011 5:05:11 PM

  6. ben-- the lieutenant governor can only cast the "deciding" vote for procedural measures (as i understand it).

    Posted by: daftpunkydavid | Jun 14, 2011 5:06:15 PM

  7. @Glenn - Thanks for clearing that up. I've been wondering the same thing for a long time now.

    Posted by: Erich | Jun 14, 2011 5:07:55 PM

  8. Send the Senator a thank you email at

    Posted by: Dave | Jun 14, 2011 5:07:56 PM

  9. Flanagan is my senator. His district covers much of Northeast Suffolk County on Long Island. I rcvd a letter from him a week or two ago saying that although he voted against marriage equality in 2009 he is still considering the issue this year. I also spoke with him late last year before he was reelected. I really got the feeling that he wanted to vote yes but was concerned of the possible political damage it could cause. My guess is he will end up voting yes, especially with all of the other Republicans that are beginning to vocalize their support.

    Posted by: Dan | Jun 14, 2011 5:10:19 PM

  10. Fingers crossed, NY. Make it happen!

    Contacting undecided Senators is crucial. Another important thing to do--as we learned in VT--is to write a Thank You e-mail/note to Senators who have come out in support, to all of the Yes voters, but particularly to ones who are going out on a limb (i.e. ignoring their Republican party platform to vote their conscience). They'll be getting hate mail from the bigots, so a kind and reasonable appreciation from us and our allies can cement the feeling that they've done the right thing.

    Posted by: Ernie | Jun 14, 2011 5:10:21 PM

  11. For you NY experts: Was Sen.McDonald a surprise yes vote or did you expect he might be a swing vote?

    Posted by: PLAINTOM | Jun 14, 2011 5:13:24 PM

  12. @Dan: Thanks for that info. I think instead of a "32nd senator" we'll see a bloc of GOP announce their intentions OR wait until the vote itself. But it seems to me as of now this will pass, they'll just figure out who votes how.

    Posted by: Bruno | Jun 14, 2011 5:13:49 PM

  13. finally some NY Republicans are coming to their senses and doing the right thing to move the country forward.

    Posted by: chris | Jun 14, 2011 5:35:18 PM

  14. @ plaintom: he was rumored to be among the "undecided 8"... let's just hope the republicans actually bring it to the floor (which is not a done deal yet; and for that, dean skelos, the majority leader needs to hear from us). i would be crushed if that did not happen, or if they did not find the additional vote(s) they need.

    a little aside: what is up with this idea that there is a "deciding" vote, that's absurd. no one vote holds more weight in the overall decision; it's the majority of votes that decides.

    Posted by: daftpunkydavid | Jun 14, 2011 5:37:33 PM

  15. @Daftpunkydavid... while you're right that no one vote is more "deciding" than others, if there are ultimately only 32 "yes" votes, then some members fear that their opponents will say -- with some justification, obviously -- that if only they hadn't voted "yes," the bill would have failed. Doesn't make a lot of logical sense, but it's politics. So I think some Republicans are going to want to know that there are at least 33 votes before they will vote yes.

    Posted by: Glenn | Jun 14, 2011 5:46:53 PM

  16. @Daftpunkydavid: thanks for the imfo.

    Posted by: PLAINTOM | Jun 14, 2011 5:56:47 PM

  17. That's why the bloc vote is such a good idea. They would give each other cover, like elementary school kids. But whatever will get us there....

    Posted by: K | Jun 14, 2011 7:20:41 PM

  18. Thanks for the info, Glenn and Daftpunkydavid. Now to find an extra senator. It's scary to think the liberty of a million and more LGBT New Yorkers is in the hands of a body that couldn't pass a budget on time for more than three decades.

    Posted by: Ben | Jun 14, 2011 8:14:29 PM

  19. Senator Greg Ball said he'd vote no because it does not provide full protection for religious denominations. If he'd read the updated version of the bill as of June 14, 2011, (republicans aren't known for reading any bill from beginning to end), he'd note that Gov. Cuomo included the following:

    "In hopes of attracting key Senate Republican votes, Cuomo's bill also offers exemptions from anti-discrimination laws to religious groups and affiliated organizations. The Knights of Columbus, for instance, would be allowed to bar same sex couples from renting out catering hall space. The bill also specifies that no clergy would be forced to perform marriage ceremonies for gay couples."

    The Catholic Conference voiced similar concern citing the Knights of Columbus. Obviously, they've not read the update version. Another red herring. These people are so desperate to make sure it doesn't pass.

    Posted by: Robert | Jun 15, 2011 2:53:31 PM

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