I’m Bringing Same-Sex Marriage Back

New York Governor David Paterson has revealed that he will return to the gay marriage bill that got lost during June’s Senate leadership tussle, bringing the possibility of New York State allowing gay marriage before the end of the year right back into the mix:

“I am anticipating a special session and I am anticipating this is one of the issues that we will address,” Paterson told The Advocate, indicating that, rather than bringing the bill to the floor when the senate is called back into session this week, Paterson will instead call a special session later in the month.

A counterpart to the gay marriage bill passed the New York Assembly earlier this year by a vote of 89-52, but after a leadership coup in the New York Senate, which saw a brief period in which neither the Republicans nor the Democrats had the majority before the Democrat majority was restored, the bill was simply ignored.

Speaking about his reasons for returning to the bill, Governor Paterson said:

“I felt that the whole fight over the coup denied the people of New York resolution on a number of issues that were very controversial and had been discussed and advocated for… I think that we owe the public a proper disposition on those pieces of legislation, and one of those was marriage equality.”

This announcement is interesting on two fronts.

Paterson was heavily criticized by some members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community for not making clear his plans regarding the gay marriage bill when the talk of special sessions came up earlier in the year.

Although some continue to believe that Paterson is playing gay marriage as a popularity card, others are keen to point out that civil rights issues such as same-sex marriage are not the best way to win favor with the wider electorate, even if LGBTs are a powerful force in Albany itself.

But in announcing his intentions now, Paterson has clearly set out an agenda for action on gay marriage without the complication of giving a precise date, allowing him some room to maneuver whilst hopefully placating those that might have criticized him a second time around.

Secondly, during a special session Paterson is able to choose what is put on the agenda for that session, but he can not force lawmakers to take action on those items. That said, the gay marriage bill may go to the senate floor by default because once it is put on the so-called “active” list of a session agenda, it is usual practice for a bill to go through the rules committee and then move de facto to the floor.

In this way Gov. Paterson, who was also criticized for the way in which he tried to break the Senate leadership stalemate, can create the conditions of a vote without forcing the issue, a distance that may provide less resistance from senators who are undecided on the bill, but perhaps aren’t Gov. Paterson’s biggest fans.

This is vital because the gay marriage bill requires 32 votes to pass and it is well known that not all Democrats support the measure. This means that support from both the Senate President Malcolm Smith and the Majority Leader Pedro Espada Jr. will be required if the bill is to have any chance of success.

Both men have indicated support for marriage equality in the past but with the current state of the New York Senate and the projected $2.1 billion budget deficit they are having to deal with, it may be that such support might not be as forthcoming as Gov. Paterson would hope. 

Openly gay senator Tom Duane (D) is still upbeat about the bill passing though, telling The Washington Blade:

“I remain optimistic that it’ll pass this year and it’ll pass with bipartisan support.” 

Governor Paterson has pledged to sign the bill if it reaches his desk.
Take Action:
Citizen of New York State? It is vital that your senators know that you support marriage equality. You can tell them by picking up the phone and giving their office a call. It’s really quick and easy.

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Photo used under the Creative Commons Attribution License, with thanks to Double Speak.


Loretta C.
Loretta C8 years ago

When will all the hate stop? Perhaps because people cannot fathom how a man could love a man or a woman love a woman they are just scared of what they don't understand. I have to answer to God, and I believe if I am a good citizen, do what I can for others, and love everyone, and trust and believe in God, everything will be ok no matter who I want for a partner. What if religion wasn't involved, what if the majority of people were against marriages between women and men? We need peace people, peace in all things. Live and let live.

Ainsley Chalmers
Ainsley Chalmers8 years ago

Holy scripture or the bible is the word of God and is full of truth-God doesnt lie ever. we all have a free will to follow Jesus (God)or do our own thing and sin. The penaly of disobeying God have eternal consequences. You may mock the bible (eg Noah's ark, adam and eve, Jesus the creator of our universe etc) but know this God's word will still be around when this universe has gone puff. I am a research scientist and everything God says are 100% scientifically sound. i have researched the bible and it is the truth, way and life. the further we detract from God's word the messier our lives become. i can personally vouch for that.

Cindy M.
Cindy M8 years ago


"Over the centuries marriage and the legalities of a union were intertwined. I believe that marriage is a religious institution, a ceremony which is governed over by various belief systems."

If that were the case, in the US, it wouldn't be recognized since it's just a component of religious belief. No tax or survivor benefits, etc.

Maybe that's OK. But I think it would upset voters. So we need to have a legally defined marriage contract, with restrictions that do not violate the 14th Amendment's equal protection clause. (no first cousins, age requirements, etc. are OK). But when couples, which are very common and legitimate, such as man-man or woman-woman are excluded for religous reasons, it violates both the 1st (separation of church and state clause) and 14th Amendments to the US Constitution.

That's a bad thing, in the USA, given our rule of law.


roberto c.
robert m8 years ago

I am sick and tire of all religious people involving their dunb religion in here this is about civil rights that are being taken away from people and we do not do that in California its like haven't you ever heard of separation of church and state im also sick of people using the stupid bible as an excuse to go against homosexuality since when did your so called god brough the subject of homosexuality and where un your so called bible did your god say hate and separate matrimonies but religious people which im sick of keep using the bible as excuse to go against homosexuality and my ? is why it also says a child who misbehaves bad must be stoned to death and no one interprets that i don't see a lot of stoning its pure hypocrasy people say they are following their so called bible and actually they are doing the oppossite come on CALIFORNIA we should be ashemed lets stoped violating our constitution and lets END this HATE come on stand with me on the side of LOVE not in the side of hate lets fight to end HATE, EQUALITY FOR ALL

Martha Pendino
Past Member 8 years ago

Over the centuries marriage and the legalities of a union were intertwined. I believe that marriage is a religious institution, a ceremony which is governed over by various belief systems. A civil union, to me, is a legal term, designating the legalities two people enter into in reference to their property, incomes,etc. Therefore I propose that we take the word marriage out out the discussion. The government has no authority to force a religious institution to recognize same sex marriages however a civil union is only just and proper if two people agree to join together under the law. They should have that right. Should a same sex couple wish to be married they would need to address this with authorities of the religious institution to which they were affiliated. I fail to understand the difficulites with this concept.

Al J.
Past Member 8 years ago

Hi Beth,

Beliefs are fine; indeed they're the lifeblood of politics and policy. However, due to the Separation Clause, religious belief is removed from policy making. Scripture therefore has no bearing; it's specifically excluded.

In essence, the Bible is a no-go; but technically speaking Charlotte's Web isn't, if we're going to refer to books as a basis for creating policy.

Ergo, I think we should have civil unions for all, mandatory of all and with the same legal rights for all ... maybe just put a limit on the number of individuals (2, 3, 4 whatever) so noone seeks tax advantages for a group that's not really a union/marriage as seen in the eyes of the law. (separation of Church and State)

Then churches, or whatever, can go hog wild. Define marriage anyway they wish, with whatever limits they desire (freedom of religion -- just as important as civil liberties for gay, straight, white, black, brown, yellow, red, man, woman, fat, skinny, abled/differently-abled ... whatever. Human DNA? Same rights.)

Easy, yeah?

Al (formerly Mutha)

Beth Larson
Bethany Guerrero8 years ago

Amen, Grace A! And to Mutha: you can't talk about politics and leave beliefs out of the picture, that's the whole point. Whether anyone likes it or not, politics will always be intertwined with beliefs.

Otto V.
Otto V.8 years ago

Politics as usual by the fat cat politicians

Mutha T.
Past Member 8 years ago

"It is important to remember, that in the beginning (whenever that was), heterosexual unions were necessary to procreate."

True, but not anymore. We have artificial insemination. God bless science ... evolution, it would seem, marshalls on. Plus, if gay American were to marry, the breeders are unaffected. Breed on my hetero brothers and sisters. Amen.

Jim D / Mutha Teresa

Christoph Wuth
Christoph Wuth8 years ago

Keep religion out of marriage. In this case, marriage is about the civil rights of non- heterosexual people. Homosexuals have exactly the same human rights as heterosexuals. Why segregate people according to their sexual preferences?