From The New York Times:
ALBANY — The New York State Senate decisively rejected a bill on Wednesday that would have allowed gay couples to wed, providing a major victory for those who oppose same-sex marriage and underscoring the deep and passionate divisions surrounding the issue.
The 38-to-24 vote startled proponents of the bill and signaled that political momentum, at least right now, had shifted against same-sex marriage, even in heavily Democratic New York. It followed more than a year of lobbying by gay rights organizations, who steered close to $1 million into New York legislative races to boost support for the measure.
Senators who voted against the measure said the public was gripped by economic anxiety and remained uneasy about changing the state’s definition of marriage.
“Certainly this is an emotional issue and an important issue for many New Yorkers,” said Senator Tom Libous, the deputy Republican leader. “I just don’t think the majority care too much about it at this time because they’re out of work, they want to see the state reduce spending, and they are having a hard time making ends meet. And I don’t mean to sound callous, but that’s true.”
The defeat, which followed a stirring, tearful and at times very personal debate, all but ensures that the issue is dead in New York until at least 2011, when a new Legislature will be installed.
It is rather surprising that gay marriage could not pass in New York. The latest poll shows that New Yorkers support gay marriage by 51%. Granted that most of that support comes from the very liberal city and not the rather conservative upstate and suburbs.
I think timing was the key factor here. New Yorkers all across the state are seething over jobs, higher taxes and the budget shortfalls. Having the NY Senate work on gay marriage now seems like a distraction from what the electorate really wants them to work on.
Another factor might just be the passion behind the support. Democrats may not want to admit it, but among blacks and latinos, a huge part of the Democrat collation, support for gay marriage simply isn’t there. Knowing this, I think several of those senators simply made a calculated choice of who’s support they could afford to lose.
In general, I think if gay activists simply bided their time, they would have what they want with minimal fuss. Talk to almost any 20 or 30 year old and they all seem on board with gay marriage. The thing is these 20 and 30 year olds are not regular voters yet. In about 10 years they will be. By pushing gay marriage today on an electorate that clearly doesn’t want it, gay activists are building some serious roadblocks for the future. Some of these roadblocks will take decades to undo if they can be undone at all.
Via: The New York Times