Substantially Distracted Liveblog of NY Senate Gay Marriage Debate

Watch it live here.

12:30: after Sen. Duane, who is himself gay, spoke in defense of the measure (“It would make ME, equal”), Sen. Ruben Diaz Sr. (D) is now doing what for all the world looks like a filibuster. He’s reading the states that have passed mini-DOMAs to prevent gay marriage, and listing the religions that oppose gay marriage. Thanks, Sen. Diaz, for telling us things we already know and don’t care about.

12:33: now he’s questioning the democratic pedigree of the state legislature, and explaining that the Republican Party has always carried the banner for family values in the state and the country. Yes — like Mark Sanford (D) (heard it on Fox!).

12:35: Sen. Diaz: “they have not been straight with Sen. Duane.” Bad word choice…

12:36: Sen. Schneiderman: “This is not about religion. This is not about morality.” We can’t legislate morality — but we can legislate justice. Passing gay marriage is required by America’s unique purpose on Earth — all men were not created equal at the time, and we’ve been struggling to make good on those words ever since, “the quintessentially American work of making Thomas Jefferson’s words ever more true.”

12:40: Sen. Schneiderman: the notion that this will affect churches is “a myth.” Conscience provisions in the bill ensure that no church will have to do anything with this bill. “This bill hurts no-one, but gives the American value of equality to everyone…. vote for justice, vote for equality, vote your affirmation for the proposition that all

12:42: Sen. Adams: Sen. Diaz is taking his opposition to gay marriage “not from his heart, but from his mind.”

12:45: Sen. Adams, an African American man, is making the equivalence between gay marriage and interracial marriage. Loving Lawrence ftw.

12:47: Sen. Adams: “I respect my colleagues that have religious beliefs, and I have religious beliefs too. But when I pass through these doors, my Bible stays outside.” “You don’t have to be gay to respect the rights of those who are. You don’t have to be black to understand the pains of slavery.”

12:54: Sen. Klein is mixing his equal protection and due process arguments, but he’s also pushing the “Loving Lawrence” theory of gay marriage.

12:55: the financial case for gay marriage? Per Sen. Klein, apparently there’s a report by NYC Comptroller (and former mayoral candidate) Bill Thompson, suggesting gay marriage could add $200M to NYC’s income.

12:59: Sen. Klein is telling the story of a man who lost his (de facto) husband, and due to New York law, couldn’t be with him at his bedside as he lay dying, and couldn’t be provided for by his inheritance. Awful stuff.

1:02: Sen. Valesky explains that the conscience rule is important, but probably not necessary. True fact.

1:12: we’re hearing mostly powerful support for gay marriage.

1:25: Sen. Savino: Guys, marriage is already broken. If you’re worried about the sanctity of marriage, ban reality TV.

1:27: Sen. Liz Krueger, explaining why a yes vote is “easy” for her: “I’m a woman, and a Jew. I know about discrimination.” “My religion teaches that I must vote yes.”

1:30: Sen. Squadron (my senator!): recently married, he explains the power and joy of marriage, but the tragedy that his relatives, and his wife’s relatives, couldn’t be there. Pushing the legalization of gay marriage to another day will detract from others’ special days, by creating more gaps. It’s an issue of keeping families together, and bringing them together to celebrate.

1:36: Sen. Montgomery: if we don’t legalize gay marriage, we’re forcing gay couples to live in sin, or not have domestic relationships, ever. It might be a religious issue to legalize gay marriage!

1:44: Sen. Serrano: “we cannot all be free until every one of us has the rights we all should have.” Billy Bragg would be proud (“freedom is merely privilege extended, unless enjoyed by one and all”).

1:57: Sen. Johnson: if this bill threatened religious freedom, we’d be standing “shoulder to shoulder” to unanimously oppose it. But that’s not what it’s about.”

2:02: Sen. Perkins. “marriage equality is here. It is inevitable.” [. . .] “I can see Dr. Martin Luther King smiling down on us today.”

2:07: Sen. Oppenheimer, a Jew, explains that her religion commands that she help to “heal the world.” Defending love and equality is emphatically in pursuit of that goal.

2:20: Impassioned closing by Sen. Tom Duane.

2:40: Well… that took longer than I expected. But debate is now closed. No Republicans spoke; only one opponent, Sen. Diaz Sr., a Democrat, spoke in the multi-hour debate. Absent from those speaking was Senator Addabbo, a moderate Democrat from a conservative district who is expected to be influential.

2:49: voting with explanations — some last-minute bickering between Sen. Duane and Sen. Diaz. Duane almost — almost! — explained that Obama was actually in favor of marriage. Addabbo’s vote was muted, presumably only the Chamber knows how he voted now.

2:58: the nays have it. Sen. Addabbo’s first “no” vote heralded mass defection of 8 Democrats.

NY Senate votes down equality.


  1. It’s cold comfort, but attitudes are changing steadily(I wish acceptance of evolution had seen such a shift!). From what I’ve seen the New York Senate has been rather dysfunctional, so I’m not surprised. This doesn’t bode well for New Jersey, although it looks like DC is on track to pass a similar bill.

  2. […] to the daily life of their constituents. That’s legitimate: plus, Dan Squadron’s just a great guy.  But woe to Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and Diane Feinstein (D-CA) whose concerns are either nakedly […]

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