Malcolm in the middle (of NY marriage debate)
We've already told you how some state senators are lowering NY gays' expectations about achieving marriage equality in '09. But on Saturday night, at an HRC gala dinner of all places, Senate Majority Leader Malcolm Smith put those expectations in an even deeper part of the cellar. This from The New York Times:
“I know one of your top priorities is the recognition of marriage between same-sex couples — something that I strongly support, something that I believe in and something that we will make happen together,” he told the crowd.
Then, as he received a burst of applause and cheers, he added, “Hold up.” He went on: “Although we do not have the number of votes at this time needed to pass the marriage equality gender bill this legislative session, we are committed to pursuing its passage. And the question is not if; the question is when. So our work still needs to happen for it to happen this year. But I’m going to need your help, and I’m going to need your prayers.”
It did not come as a surprise that Senate Democrats were having difficulty gathering enough votes to pass the measure, but Mr. Smith’s comments were noteworthy for their bluntness. He had never said that he did not expect the bill to pass this year.
Gay Marriage Bill Not Likely in 2009, Smith Says [NY Times]
So again, you have to wonder if the reality is what it seems, or if Democratic leadership is pushing down optimism so as to (a) keep folks rallied, and (b) seem like shining stars when we do achieve it wedding orgasm this year. For us, it depends on who you ask. Everyone is in agreement that we need some senatorial votes -- but how many and how movable those votes may or may not be is the debatable part. Some say the feet-draggers are so close to falling over to our side that a gnat fart would blow them on over. Others say that even a bucking bronco wouldn't be able to get them off that damn fence.
Other factors: Would rushing to get it in 2009 lead to a Democratic backlash at the 2010 polls? Do we have more work to do, showing how we already are getting married other places and coming back to have them recognized in NYS (with the state getting no economic windfall from our wedding biz)? And most importantly: Will they reopen the crown of the statue of liberty in time if we do earn the ability to throw our lavish receptions in '09? Lots of questions on the mind, there are!
But remember that whatever the reality of the state's landscape, we all need to do our part. A good way is to SHOW UP in mass numbers to lobby the legislature: The Empire State Pride Agenda's Equality & Justice Day, April 28. Make them see our collective power and hear our collective stories.
Another good way? If you live next door to one of the anti-equality senators, promise to never invite them over to look at your mounds of super-boring wedding pictures just as long as you have the ability to obtain some. Because let's be honest: After like page ten of those sorts of albums, we all begin to feign interest and thumb through the pages three sheets at a time. Surely a supportive vote is an equal tradeoff for not having to go through that sort of torture!
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