Sunday, January 07, 2007

Spitzer on Gay Marriage
An article at 365Gay this morning summarizes Spitzer on gay marriage before and after the November, 2006. I truly hope NY isn't headed toward a "separate but equal" scenario. As I've written before, if it's not good enough for schools and drinking fountains, it's not good enough for nuptials. From the article:
In July the New York Court of Appeals, the state's highest court, ruled that same-sex couples do not have a constitutional right to marry. (story) It said that the issue, however, could be taken up by the Legislature.
Immediately after the ruling Spitzer said that he would draft and propose legislation to legalize gay marriage in New York State if elected governor.
But, Dopp on Friday warned that enacting a same-sex marriage bill "isn't a Day One issue." Dopp told the Sun that the first priorities are ethics and economic reform.
"We have to prioritize and that's how we prioritized," Dopp told the Sun. "That's not to say other matters are not important."
Following a move in New Paltz to allow gay marriages in 2004 Spitzer said that under state law the marriages would not be legal but said he believed gay marriage should be legal. He later issued a directive that marriages performed in areas of the world where they are legal must be recognized in New York state.
In October Spitzer was the keynote speaker at Empire State Pride Agenda's annual dinner.
"No New Yorker should be deprived of the right to marry the person of their choice, regardless of gender," he said to thunderous applause.
"This is not about forcing any religion to perform or recognize gay marriage. It's simply about permitting gay and lesbian couples the right to live in stable, long-term married relationships."

Of course the situation is more complicated than that. From the New York Blade:
While Spitzer failed to reference same-sex marriage in his State of the State address, the theme of his speech was “One New York.” “One New York means a state that understands that the civil rights movement still has chapters to be written,” Spitzer said in the speech.
Joe Tarver, spokesman for the Empire State Pride Agenda, took that as a nod to the LGBT community. “We think one of those chapters that has yet to be written is marriage equality for all New Yorkers,” said Tarver, adding that Gov. Spitzer has been “crystal clear” about his support for marriage and his pledge to introduce legislation legalizing it. “We have every expectation that he will follow through on his promise,” Tarver said.
No one expects that marriage bill to come through early in 2007 and some say it may not come at all this year.
“I don’t know if we’re going to see any real action this legislative session,” said Ethan Geto, a Democratic strategist and president of Geto & de Milly. “I would suspect if nothing really moves this session, there would be a lot of pressure to do it in 2008.”

Frighteningly, some of this hinges on questionable state senate majority leader Joe Bruno, currently under investigation by the FBI:
The two biggest questions on LGBT strategists minds is whether Senate Majority Leader Joseph Bruno, who is under investigation for his business ties but has not been indicted, will keep his post; and whether a Democrat or a Republican will be elected to replace the senate seat vacated by Michael Balboni. Analysts on both sides of the aisle say losing Sen. Bruno as majority leader would be a net loss for the community.
“Bruno is reserved to passing pro-gay bills every two years,” said one Republican, speaking on the condition of anonymity. Another operative called Bruno an “honest broker” with whom the community could negotiate and know where things stood.
Worse than losing Sen. Bruno, now the most powerful Republican in the state, is that his potential replacements are not seen as particularly gay friendly, which could stymie gay bills from coming to a vote in the senate.
Nassau County Sen. Dean Skelos, the most likely replacement for Bruno, voted against the Sexual Orientation Non-Discrimination Act (SONDA), for the Hate Crimes Act and is listed as “undecided” about marriage equality on the Pride Agenda’s legislative scorecard.
Sen. Thomas Libous from Binghamton, another potential successor, opposes same-sex marriage and is a sponsor the state’s Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), but he has voted for some LGBT legislation such as giving domestic partners hospital visitation rights and control over a loved one’s bodily remains. Sen. Libous also voted against SONDA, but insiders say he spoke up in conference for allowing the bill to come to vote.