A vote in the New York State Senate on gay marriage may take place soon.
Supporters of the bill (who include Governor Cuomo and Mayor Bloomberg) believe that they currently have 31 votes in the 62 seat Republican-controlled Senate and therefore require only one more Republican senator to change their vote for the bill to pass (assuming the Republicans allow a vote).
Both Republican and Democrat senators are being subjected to significant pressure by Catholic, Pentecostal and Jewish groups urging them to reject the bill, although several Republican Senators seem to be on the verge of supporting the bill if they can be satisfied as to protections for religious groups.
The Catholic Archbishop of the Archdiocese of New York released a statement which included the following:
Last time I consulted an atlas, it is clear we are living in New York, in the United States of America – not in China or North Korea. In those countries, government presumes daily to “redefine” rights, relationships, values, and natural law. There, communiqués from the government can dictate the size of families, who lives and who dies, and what the very definition of “family” and “marriage” means.
But, please, not here! Our country’s founding principles speak of rights given by God, not invented by government, and certain noble values – life, home, family, marriage, children, faith – that are protected, not re-defined, by a state presuming omnipotence.
The conduct of some of those opposing gay marriage has been unpleasant:
Some lawmakers have been quite explicit about their frustration with some opponents of same-sex marriage. Senator Diane J. Savino, Democrat of Staten Island, taped a handwritten sign outside her legislative office this week that said, “Bigots and homophobes please put your literature here,” with an arrow pointing to a box lid on the ground.
On her Facebook wall Ms. Savino wrote, “If you could see and hear some of the rhetoric you would appreciate my sign.”
The reason for this, I suspect, is that they know this vote will be close, that they do not have the upper hand, and that a decision to implement gay marriage in New York would be a significant moral and strategic victory.
If you live in New York state and you believe that your gay friends and family should have the right to marry the person they love, then the time to call your state senator is now.
Two Republican senators (Sen. James Alesi of Monroe County ((518) 455-2015/(585) 223-1800) and Sen. Roy McDonald of Saratoga County ((518) 455-2381/(518) 274-4616)) have already announced that they will vote for gay marriage.
These Republican senators and the 29 Democrats who support the bill need to hear from you that they are doing the right thing.
A number of Republican senators have been identified as possible swing votes.
* Stephen Saland of Poughkeepsie
* Mark Grisanti of Buffalo
716-773-9600 ext 654
* Andrew Lanza of Staten Island
* Greg Ball of Patterson
* Kemp Hannon of Garden City
The Christianists will be calling them frantically urging a no vote.
If you live in their districts, please take the time to call. Be polite and keep it simple.
Your call in support of gay marriage may make a difference.
ETA: Contact details for all New York State senators can be found here.