New York Gay Marriage Gains Support In GOP Senate

ALBANY, N.Y. (CBSNewYork/AP) — After a second day of a lobbying blitz and propelled by Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s personal buttonholing of GOP senators, a measure to legalize gay marriage in New York drew to within one vote of passing, with at least two more Republicans still undecided.

On Tuesday, a second Republican senator said he would support Cuomo’s same-sex marriage bill, less than two years after he was part of a GOP-led defeat of a similar bill that dealt a blow to the national effort to legalize gay marriage.

In New York, Sen. Roy McDonald of Saratoga County announced he would vote for gay marriage, creating a 31-31 tie, resulting in no law. Thirty-two votes are needed to pass a bill in the 62-seat chamber. Several senators, however, still haven’t committed to a vote that could happen Friday, what could be the final day of the legislative session.

“My vote is going to be for marriage,” McDonald said. “I think it’s compassion, trying do the right thing, trying to get everyone to live together.”

“Our big state is big enough for everybody,” he said.

When told McDonald would support gay marriage, Republican Sen. William Larkin of Orange County responded, “Shocking.”

Fellow GOP Sens. Mark Grisanti of Erie County and Stephen Saland of Poughkeepsie said they were undecided on the issue.

Each side is funded by more than $1 million from national and state advocates that’s being used in media blitzes and in promised campaign cash for lawmakers who side with them. The effort, organized by Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo as a top policy objective, drew three Democratic senators and one Republican, James Alesi, to the cause on Monday. Half a dozen senators remain uncommitted publicly and others could still cast surprise votes on the Senate floor, as several did in 2009.

1010 WINS’ Stan Brooks reports: Keeping The Pressure On Senators

“Many of us thought that Sen. Alesi would be in favor it, so the only difference now is that he’s public with it,” said Senate Deputy Majority Leader Thomas Libous, a Republican opposed to the gay marriage bill. “So there’s not really a net gain there.”

The sole Democratic senator opposed to the bill, the Rev. Ruben Diaz Sr. of the Bronx, continues to drum up opposition, saying it’s his calling.

Meanwhile, CBS 2’s Tony Aiello spoke with a Queens couple encouraged by the developments in Albany. Together since age 15, Gabrielle Harmon and Jacqueline Cabrera hope the day is drawing near when they can marry in New York.

“God forbid a tragedy happening and you know, the person who’s most important to you isn’t able to make decisions for you,” Harmon said.

“We want to start buying a house and doing all these things but right now we just don’t feel safe doing so and it really, really hurts,” Cabrera said.

However, other New Yorkers are upset about the measure moving forward. Gay marriage opponents rallied Tuesday at City Hall.

“I believe a traditional marriage should be between one man and one woman,” one protestor said.

“They have civil unions, they have all the benefits, this is something that’s spiritual, something that’s God-made,” another woman said.

New York Archbishop Timothy Dolan blogged Tuesday that approving gay marriage is akin to a communist country redefining other basic human rights.

“In those countries, government presumes to “redefine rights, relationships, values and natural law,” Dolan stated. He said “courageous” senators are facing a “stampede” of lobbying to change their votes. “But, please, not here! Our country’s founding principles speak of rights given by God, not invented by government.”

Legalizing gay marriage in New York, the media capital of the world and a major tourist destination, would be a critical win for the national effort. Same-sex marriage is legal in Connecticut, Iowa, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Vermont and Washington, D.C. But the effort has flagged since the 2009 defeat in New York, which surprised some advocates. Opponents are bolstered by defeats of similar bills in Maryland and Rhode Island this year, and recent polls have shown New Yorkers slightly less supportive of gay marriage as the issue gained more attention this year.

Whether the Democrats’ stepped-up campaign this week in New York reflects growing momentum or a desperate effort to provide themselves some political cover will be played out by Monday, the last scheduled day of the legislative session. Republicans plan to conclude as early as Friday.

Cuomo said his bill is “roughly” the same as the one defeated in 2009 in a Senate then led by Democrats. Republicans won a 32-30 majority in 2010.

“Hundreds of thousands of other New Yorkers, like me, are treated like second-class citizens,” said “Sex in the City” star Cynthia Nixon in her latest lobbying in Albany. She said Tuesday she’s been engaged to another woman for seven years but unable to marry in her home state.

“It’s time we treat all committed couples equally,” said Sean Avery, a New York Ranger and one of several professional athletes and celebrities including Lady GaGa who have pressed for gay marriage.

Cuomo’s bill was expected to be sent to the Senate on Tuesday. It will be discussed in a closed-door Republican conference on Wednesday, where the first vote count could be held. But as in 2009, several senators are expected to disclose their position only in the floor vote, a dramatic moment rare in Albany where most issues are decided by majority conferences long before a public vote.

Republican Sen. Greg Ball said Tuesday that “arrogance” on the extremes of both sides of the issue has stopped real debate and negotiation on Cuomo’s bill. The Democratic governor says the bill doesn’t include additional religious exemptions, key to attracting votes from Ball and others who want churches, religious groups and individuals opposed to gay marriage exempted from performing or hosting gay marriages.

“I think if the governor pays real respect to the need for religious carve-outs and builds that into this bill, creating a clear definition between civil marriage and religious marriage, it’s going to take the wind out of the sales of people like Jason McGuire who are against the bill,” Ball said. “To the extent that’s not done, I don’t see how you get it passed.”

Cuomo flatly said “no” when asked Tuesday if his bill will include the additional religious exemptions sought by McGuire, an Elmira pastor and president of the New Yorkers Family Research Foundation, who says gay marriage damages children.

A group of 734 clergy and lay leaders disagrees with McGuire.

“Our faith traditions teach us that all people are children of God, deserving of love, dignity and equal treatment,” said the Rev. Tom Goodhue, executive director of the Long Island Council of Churches. “It would be a blessing if New York were to allow loving, committed gay and lesbian couples to be married.”

Just 14 percent of New Yorkers said gay marriage should be the top priority of the Legislature, which also is wrestling with fiscal issues, according to the Siena College poll released Monday. But 55 percent of those polled support a same-sex marriage law, compared with the 40 percent opposed. That’s down from a high of 58 percent in April. The poll questioned 819 registered voters June 5-8 and had a margin of error of plus or minus 3.4 percentage points.

Republican senators, however, are doing extensive polling within their districts and some said several upstate districts still strongly oppose same-sex marriage. Cuomo acknowledged that Monday but said statewide polls show support and the Senate should represent the whole state.

Republicans who vote for gay marriage also will lose the often-critical endorsement of the Conservative Party, said party chairman Michael Long.

Do you agree with Sen. Ball’s proposal? Sound off in our comments section below…

(TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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  • Marvin

    Linda your a shmuck! The times are changing and people are changing. All we want is EQUALITY, no more no less. If you want us to change is like a gay person asking a straight person to change their sexual orientation. I pay taxes like you, so you better believe I want that equal treatment!

  • SFJD

    Here’s hoping that the NY Senate does the right thing and recognizes marriage for all!

  • Linda Schanus

    Anyone who votes for the gay marriage bill will never get my vote again! Jim Alisii , you are deffinately not going to be supported by the conservatives any more. This is an disgraceful destruction of the nature of multiplying and normancy of mankind since the the beginning of earth. This is NOT a right, it is liberal (anything goes) distruction of society as meant to be. What is next, t the right to marry your pet if it was found consensual?? Or what about your brother or sister ? At least they would be covered under your insurance. This is totally outragious and insane. If the Founding Fathers thought this inhuman issue would ever come up they would have put and end to it immediately in the Constitution.

    • lucas


  • Robert J Senn

    the gays want to get married is wasting the time of the state gov right now the gov needs all the time it has for something important like a budget for schoolls firededt police and for the gays and the court system that they are so good at using if you see a crime call a gay

  • littlestar

    ATT : Badman ( badboy ), Ripping my throat out ? ? ? Ripping my throat out ? I don’t know how old you are my friend, only a young person could speek with such irrisponsible passion. Ya know what boy? I’ll vote for this. ( I mean if I had a vote, I’d vote for this ) Only because as the gay agenda rose crime began to drop. Check the stats ! I mean how bad could jail be if there was plenty of sexual opportunities ? Don’t luv ya boy.

    • badman

      no, such an act of violence would in this case be “risponsible”. Maybe my impatience does make me, in certain ways, just a boy. But you’re a waste of space.

      Straight white male, btw. Just really tired of self-haters like you who need an underdog to scapegoat for your own misery.

      Ironic, a little: I hate the haters. But you’re 100% worth it.

  • Linda Schnaus

    Alesi will never get my vote again and/or anyone who votes for this insane bill!!! Greg Ball you are next. If the Founding Fathers ever thought something as inhuman as this was even a question I believe they would have put an end to it in the Constitution immediatley. This is not a right. It is going against nature as was intended to multiply and survive since the beginning of time. Will it also one day be a right for you to marry your pet so it will have insurance???? How far will this go, marry your brother etc. Why not as long as parties are consenting. Totally discusting!!! New York State is just another liberal anything goes state which I am beginning to despise immensly.

    • Joseph Didonato

      LInda, listen how to stupid you sound, marry your brother!!! Thats not what they are asking for they are asking for the same rights you and how about Britney spears has ,who got married for 24 hours!!!! Stop talikng beacause the more you do you show how stupid you are. Now get back in the kitchen and cook your husbands meal.

      • littlestar

        Joey ! C’mon, What more do you want ? Y’all got the hate crime protection, housing, employment… What are you trying to prove… you can’t procreate so you are not equal. I can’t imagine your gay frustration. Luv ya , sexy !

  • Mrs Nibbles

    I feel bad that my kids are going to have to grow up with gays being married. I feel bad for kids in gay homes. But what am I gonna do tell my kids to hate gays. No I’m gonna teach then to respect all people even if it’s something I don’t believe in and when there older they can make up there own minds.

  • Rick

    There is no rational objection to implementing sam,e sex equality in marriage. The religious “care out” is just a tacit for delay. There is no way to compel religious people to perform marriages they don’t want to participate in. To say there is is just pure rhetorical dishonesty.

    It’s time to simply implement equality under the law, which is the only thing the state can do. There is no religious aspect to a state law that would only enforce secular equality.

  • Wow

    Everyone needs to just let other people live their lives. I don’t understand why some people think it is their RIGHT to force their ideologies on other people. If I want to marry a cat, that should be MY CHOICE, not anyone elses. What do you people care if some guy marries his boyfriend? Is it affecting your life in any way? Build a bridge and get over it! I’m sure I wouldn’t agree with many of your life choices, but that’s why they are YOUR choices! GO GAY MARRIAGE! I am straight and a Christian, but I also believe in the Christian ideology of being good to other people, no matter who they are. If you zealots want to quote the Bible, did you forget that Jesus offended others because he healed a leper? If Jesus loves all of us equally, don’t you think you’d be upsetting him by condemning those that he loves?

    • badman

      Gandhi said, “I like your Christ, but I don’t like your Christians.” You, Mr (or Ms) Wow, are a Christian who Gandhi WOULD have liked.

      • littlestar

        Good man old Gandi !

      • badman

        you really admire Gandhi? we actually agree on something?

        funny, as I wrote my last post to you I was wishing that I could be more like him. he found a way NOT to hate the haters, and won. wish it worked that way all the time.

  • badman

    get government out of people’s lives. that includes eliminating restrictions on things like gay marriage, and for that matter abortion. Some of you call yourselves “conservative,” but you’re activist and you’re promoting the amount of control government has over our lives.

    Make a big list of everything that you think is wrong with the world, how we are all damned in the eyes of God; then take it into your house and shove it up your @ss, along with your Bible, your Koran, your Torah… You are doing NOTHING for us. GO AWAY.

    • Micha


      If you want big gov’t to butt out, register republican and vote for Ron Paul in the pimary. He is all about limited gov’t involvement. By the way, I think your post was good. I am a Christian and identify as one, but I don’t try to force muy ideology on other people. I always say that if a gay person is going to hell, why are other people worried about it? They don’t have to go in that gay persons stead…

    • littlestar

      Oh angry nearsighted badman ! What would society , our world be like right now, in 2011, if it was not for the concept of right and wrong as put forth in the Bible. You are a leech my friend, and you know what ? You are a boy!

      • badman

        littlestar, my post did indeed seem naive, because we all know that you are not going to go away. your ignorance and hatred is as human as anything else about us. the human race will destroy itself through the actions of people like you and your counterparts in Islam, Judaism, etc.

        And you bet I’m angry, but how ironic that you call me nearsighted. You’re the one wearing blinders.

        And I don’t claim to be immune to hate. It’s just not your hate, which is based blindly on what someone else told you to think… I have plenty of it for people like you, and would be perfectly willing to channel it into ripping your throat out and ridding the world of you, if you weren’t such a sorry, soft physical specimen and not worth the effort.

      • KPMc

        Seriously? you want to know what the world would have been like without the billions murdered/tortured.enslaved in the name of words written by men?

      • Michael H.

        “right and wrong” are not concepts invented in either the old or new testament.


    What’s wrong with being domestic partners and leave marriage to the husband (male) and wife (female) population.
    I believe it’s Adam and Eve — NOT adam and steve !!!!!

    • tom V

      Because domestic partnership does not cover a number of legal aspects that a legal marriage does. There are plenty of people still doing the man / woman thing so heterosexuality is not going to be extinct – dont worry. We are supposed to treat people equally and we are not by having laws that prevent it. Marriage is a legal contract – not a religious event. Many people ( heterosexuals ) get married at City Hall.. no big church wedding there, and the Earth still spins right? Remember separation of church and state.

    • badman

      Wow, George, you are so clever and funny. Adam and Steve. You should be on TV with those jokes.

      you believe in the easter bunny too. GROW UP, already

    • littlestar

      Why ? Because there is no arguing with drunk people and the functionaly insane..

  • tom V

    It is amazing how many ignorant people live in this state. This is supposed to be a country of freedom where all people are created equal. The math is very simple ( even to the idiots ) . If one set of people have certain rights ( heterosexuals ) and another set of people do NOT have the same rights (gays and lesbians ) that equals INEQUALITY. One group not being treated the same as the other. It goes against everything this country is supposed to stand for.

    And P.S. Marriage has NOTHING to do with religion. It is a LEGAL CONTRACT. Whether or not you choose to ADD a religious aspect to it is your business and religion ( by separation of church and state ) should not be pushed on anyone as well believe in different religions and some don’t believe and that’s their right.

    If you don’t believe in the values our country was founded on ( FREEDOM FROM OPPRESION AND RELIGIOUS PERSECUTION ) then there are plenty of countries that you can live in where they have all kinds of governmental oppression. See ya.

    • littlestar

      Tom V. If you believe that all people are created equal then you live a lie. I mean it is a sweet concept, but it just ain”t so. The judgemental proccess begins in the first grade. Fromk then on we begin to “weed out” the inferior. If you belive that people who are intollerant of the oppisit sex are equal to heterosexuals then you live a lie.

      • KPMc

        ‘begins in first grade’ is about six years AFTER all were endowed with inalienable rights by their creator. Brush up on the books, little.

        Created equal. It’s not that hard to grasp!

  • littlestar

    Ellen mi amore, no honey, I’m not a nit wit. I’m simply offended by the sight of two people of the same sex holding hands. Firstly it seems so incredidbly bizzar, and secondly arrogant. All around us is the lie. And the lie is the truth. Beso.

    • Rev. Charles L. Nowell, Sr.

      All of us must step up and write our political official and make sure they understand, that our vote determine whether they serve another term. I am not here to beat anyone up. But let us examine moral and ethical movement in all these discussions. Our governor, should understand that the city and state has already approved adoption, the job situation, but please let us stay out of the business of creation. The Bible is the truth about good and evil, moral and immoral acts. Thanks for this opportunity to speak

      • Got2bekiddingme

        You people are aware that the Bible was written by MEN, right? God didn’t sit down with a pen and paper and write the Bible. Jesus didn’t either. You are also aware that over the course of history parts of the Bible have been added and taken away? There was actually a Gospel of Mary Magdalen at one time until about the 1500s when it was removed. Learn YOUR RELIGIOUS HISTORY! If you are going to argue againsty gay marriage, keep religion out of it- it just sounds ignorant. Oh and btw, you say that being gay is immoral, but morality is a relative term. I think it’s immoral for rich parents to send their kids to boarding school because they can’t be bother raising them. Doesn’t mean everyone else agrees with me. I also think its immoral that the Catholic Church only agreed to bury my grandfather AFTER my mother made a $5,000 donation. I consider myself a Christian, but I don’t delude myself either. I think you’re a couple of centuries too late for the Inquisition.

      • KPMc

        Charle… you do know that good book of yours was written by fallible, sinning, imperfect human beings, don’t you?

        Even if I give you the first five books (which I am not conceding) then the rest… including ALL of the new testament, were written by sinning human beings.

  • littlestar

    Damn ! Yall ain’t gay. You just intollerant of the oppist sex.

    • Michael H.

      This is quite possibly one of the dumbest things I have ever read.

  • Bryce

    This doesn’t make sense. If the count is at a 31-31 tie in a 62 seat chamber then: 1) how are several uncommitted, and 2) how could either side win now?

  • Ellen

    Don’t care one way or another, but hate the way this is being forced down everyone’s throat, and if you disagree with gay marriage then your a bigot. Ya, it’s the bigot thing that gets to me, and the crying and winning that goes with it.

    • KPMc

      Obviously you do care one way or another. What exactly is being forced down your throat? (no sexual innuendo please)

      If two strangers marry how in the world does it affect you in any way?

      You may not realize it but you ARE a bigot.

      • littlestar

        Yeah, bigot. Born nthat way baby. Luv ya ! Gaga rocks !

    • littlestar

      Beg your pardon Ellen, but if you don’t care one way or the other then why should the ” bigots ” bother you ? Luv ya baby.

      • Ellen

        littlestar, just do. I hate the fact that if you disagree with someone on this it goes into a rant about bigotry. Hey, it’s the same when talking politics, if you disagree with someone’s view then your a nit wit, and so on. Luv ya back.

  • J

    JEH OV AH G OD says G AYS R disgusting to him. But people want to do their own thing.Then when they get AIDS, its O GOD!

  • Joe

    All those who attack the right for their views are no better of human beings than the ignorant folks who do not want to allow gay marriages.

  • nathan

    Hey righty – you can come out of the closet now. Its safe and besides your wives already know.

    • littlestar

      What is closet?

  • Kyle

    There already are religious exemptions! Apparently Greg Ball is too blind to read the freakin bill!

    Anyhow……fine, whatever language Greg Ball wants added to the bill……..
    I say, add it on………..It’s more important that we get the freakin bill passed, even if the language isn’t perfect.

  • Joseph Didonato

    Hope you have children or grandchildren that are gay. Go ahead spit in the air!!

  • Bob Fowler

    Apparently people are overlooking a ‘real’ issue when it comes to public businesses being made to cater to certain functions. If the catering hall owner for example is opposed to gay marriages, laws would mandate that he must cater them? Must a business risk losing future business from people opposed to gay marriages?

    We all seem enamored with catering to special interest groups, in the name of political correctness, but what about the real results of being politically correct? We eagerly boycott businesses that offend certain factions of society, but what happens to my business when the non-boycotting public just stops shopping at my place because I must be politically correct? How many businesses do we daily refuse to support for any number of reasons? Now we are talking about mandating that a business must cater to a special interest group? What happened to free enterprise?

  • Shirley Ranz

    No one is forced to perform a marriage except employees of government. Exemptions for others are not necessary as long as municipal and civil marriages are legalized.

  • Jess

    I am not surprised that a Neanderthal, such as yourself Stephen, would solve what you consider a problem resorting to violence. I can only hope you don’t have any children because I can’t even begin to imagine the hate you would teach them. You sound like such a sad little man.

  • Ann

    if you had your way, you’d be living in a cave!

  • Ann

    What happened to seperation of church and state. Let the bigots in their religion be bigots but let the state do what it is supposed to do – protect civil rights of all!

    • KPMc

      If only the close-minded could see it that way, Ann. It seems rather simple but not for the simple-minded apparently.

    • Bob Fowler

      Please read the Amendment, it does not say anything about separation of church and state. It states “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

      Upon reading this, you MUST conclude that the founders clearly state that the government cannot ESTABLISH a state religion, nor prohibit the FREE EXERCISE of a religion. Any law requiring any religion to not follow it’s doctrine would be in violation of this. Ergo, you cannot make anyone that is a part of a religious group conform to a ‘politically correct’ notion that violates the religion’s doctrine.

      The civil rights that you want protected INCLUDE the very same groups that you are attempting to exclude.

      • Ann

        you can’t read well can you? I never mentioned the first amendment!

      • Bob Fowler

        KPMc, it wouldn’t. I never said that it would. BUT, if I must open my business to this, or have to provide MY tax dollars to provide a venue for this, don’t I too have the right of protection by the Constitution? Tax dollars cannot be used to aid a religion, but can be used to support a process that is diametrically opposed to the widest practiced religion in the country, which has membership of over half of the general population. Somehow I don’t think that everyone has equal protection under the law.

        As an extreme and ridiculous example, pedophiles will be allowed to adopt children. Most people are opposed to pedophilia, but they too have rights, no?

      • KPMc

        How would someone else’s marriage impede on the rights of those opposed?

    • Bob Fowler

      Ann, you stated that “you can’t read well can you? I never mentioned the first amendment!”. Great! Where did you get separation of church and state from then? The saying is derived from the 1st Amendment.

      The courts have created a version of the amendment that was never written. They have altered the meaning of words so as to meet a political agenda. They have also rewritten the part about the right to bear arms. It may be a Constitutional right, but somehow it is against the law?

      The problem isn’t with gay marriage. The problem is with the courts continuously taking away the rights of the majority in favor of special interest groups. Can you imagine the fortune being wasted in an attempt to make people say married instead of civil union? Who benefits? Lawyers and politicians. not the people. And once it becomes law, I can be sued for civil rights violations if I do not ascribe to this?

      I want MY rights.

  • Truth & Beauty

    I would think that anyone who is a practicing member of any religion would know that religion’s stance on gay marriage and would either abide by it because it would also be his/her religious belief or would go to a neutral party (i.e., justice of the peace) for the requisite ceremony. Anything less would be pointless.

    That said, I suppose catering facilities shouldn’t be discriminating; after all, any marriage ceremoney is just another source of revenue for them, so as long as there is nothing overtly obscene or nothing that is outwardly illegal, such as violation of noise ordinances or public drunkenness. So, I presume this type of business transaction could be legislated to be anti-discriminatory, but, as we all know, there is quite a variety of reasons that a catering facility may not be available for any function and no way to be certain that whatever reason is given is based on discrimination or that the facility may genuinely be booked or redecorating or whatever the case may be.

    Whatever the case, careful consideration is required before any law is enacted to avoid unnecessary entanglements and to avoid overlegislation that will tread on anyone’s toes.

  • teetotaler

    Legal exemptions are not necessary. Nobody can be forced to perform a marriage that they don’t want to.

  • John K.

    No! Churches and religious organizations are exempt in their personal capacities, as is required by the first amendment, but businesses, public officials, and those performing public services (catholic adoptions) must not discriminate! Anything less is unacceptable.

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