Aren't these two states supposedly the most liberal in the whole conservative wrong-wing religious dominated U S of A? Why are these wing nuts in control of these decisions in the first place? How were THEY elected to power? I find it really sad to think that the majority of US citizens are this closed minded, as the MAJORITY that I meet are way more liberal thinking. Something is wrong here, and needs to be fixed. The problem lies in that the top individuals running this country are religious fanatics themselves, whether past Republicans or current Democrats. Until religion is separated from politics, we will continue to see discrimation, hatred and unnessary evil...all in the name of their loving GAWD!
Read on and rant...
The New York State Senate voted 24-38 today against a bill that would have allowed gays and lesbians to marry in the Empire State.
The long-delayed vote came on the heels of more than two hours of passionate and even emotional debate on the Senate floor.
"Provide me with the exact same rights as you have Madam President and each and every member of the New York State Senate has," openly gay state Sen. Tom Duane [D-Manhattan,] who initially introduced the bill, said. "It would make me equal in every way to everyone else in this chamber."
State Sen. Diane Savino [D-Staten Island] was among those who applauded Duane as she spoke in support of marriage for gays and lesbians.
"We have nothing to fear from Tom Duane and [his partner] Louis," she said. "We have nothing to fear from [state Assemblymember] Danny O’Donnell and his partner. We have nothing to fear from love and commitment."
State Sen. Ruth Hassell-Thompson [D-Mount Vernon] spoke about her gay brother as she announced her support of the marriage bill. She also discussed those who continue to oppose nuptials for same-sex couples based on their religious convictions.
"Nobody elected me... to be the moral arbiter of their decisions," Hassell-Thompson said. "They did ask me to provide leadership and the rights for all of the people I serve."
Senate President Pro Tempore Malcolm Smith [D-St. Albans] was more blunt.
"What is wrong is not knowing what the Bible says and retreating to it," he said.
State Sen. David Valesky [D-Oneida] was among the handful of undecided lawmakers who supported the bill, but embattled state Sen. Hiram Monserrate [D-Jackson Heights] and state Sen. Ruben Diaz, Sr., were among the eight Democrats who voted against it. No Republicans supported the bill.
Diaz has been the most vocal opponent of gay marriage in either party. Monserrate faces an uphill re-election battle after he was found guilty of cutting up his live-in-girlfriend and trying to hide the incident.
"Let’s do what Mayor Bloomberg did: let’s go against the will of the people by doing [it] through politicians and without the people’s will," Diaz said as he spoke in opposition to the bill. "Let the people decide. I say let the people decide. If you put this issue before the voters, they will reject it." Diaz was referring to the mayor’s volte-face on term limits.
The vote has been subject to numerous delays but that the Senate Republicans wanted a floor vote at last. The state’s large Orthodox Jewish population is actively opposed; a few Orthodox Jews protested in front of the State House in Albany on Wednesday.
Activists were quick to react to the "nay" vote.
"While we are disappointed by today’s vote, we are pleased that the issue of marriage equality at last was debated in the New York State Senate," Alan Van Capelle, executive director of the Empire State Pride Agenda, said. "We had long called for a public debate on this matter so we could determine who was truly on our side."
New York City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, herself an out-lesbian and the second-most powerful politician in the city, expressed disappointment. "Today the New York State Senate rejected an opportunity to declare that all citizens in New York are equal," she said in a statement. "This is a loss for every family in New York. This is a loss for every lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender New Yorker."
Mayor Michael Bloomberg, after sitting on the fence about the issue, came out forcefully in favor of gay marriage this year.
Another city politician, Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer may not be gay, but his statement was even more blunt in its assessment of the Senate vote.
"Only the State Senate could snatch defeat from the jaws of pride and progress," he said. "Millions of New Yorkers, regardless of their sexual orientation, looked to Albany today hoping our state would once again take its place at the forefront of America’s long struggle for human rights.
"Instead," he said, "we were treated again to the last minute disappointment that has become all too familiar from the State Senate." Stringer, a co-sponsor of a the marriage-equality bill when he served in the Assembly, added, "Along with countless New Yorkers who have been fighting this fight for many years, I am saddened by the Senate vote. We will keep fighting, and in the end, equal justice will prevail."
Joe Solmonese, president of the Human Rights Campaign, agreed. "Today’s vote is a vote against equal treatment for New York families," he said.
Activists are planning to rally tomorrow night in Washington Square Park in lower Manhattan and in Albany.