Monday, April 23, 2007

NY Marriage

The article's right, it's not likely to go far in Sheldon Silver's assembly or "Pony" Joe Bruno's senate. If nothing else, it will get marriage equality on the minds of New Yorkers. Maybe some pundit will be bright enough to ask why a supposedly progressive state like NY is having trouble moving forward on a civil right. From the article:

Gov. Eliot Spitzer will introduce a bill in the coming weeks to legalize same-sex marriage in New York, his spokeswoman said Friday, a move that would propel New York to the forefront of one of the most contentious issues in politics.

Though he has long voiced support for same-sex marriage and promised during his campaign last year to introduce legislation to legalize it, Mr. Spitzer did not mention the issue in his State of the State speech in January or in remarks a week ago outlining his priorities for the remainder of the legislative session, which ends June 21.

But the spokeswoman, Christine Anderson, said that Mr. Spitzer would not back away from his campaign pledge.

“The governor made a commitment to advance a program bill, and he will fulfill that commitment during this legislative session,” Ms. Anderson said, using the term that refers to legislation introduced directly by the governor rather than through a state agency or by the Legislature.

The cynical part of me reads the above paragraphs and thinks of a face-saving, half-hearted attempt at keeping a campaign promise. Time will tell. The proposed legislation faces an uphill battle:

Any legislation to make New York the second such state would face a steep climb in Albany, a fact that Mr. Spitzer has acknowledged. Explaining why he did not include the gay-marriage bill among his post-budget legislative priorities, Mr. Spitzer said last week that he “was listing bills that I think we can and should get passed by the Legislature in the next few weeks. And so I am focusing now on politics as the art of the possible.

“I think most who are close to the issue would agree with me that it’s not likely to be passed in the next nine and a half weeks,” Mr. Spitzer added.

Legislation to allow same-sex marriage has never made it to a floor vote in either the Assembly, which has a Democratic majority, or the Republican-controlled State Senate. Sheldon Silver, the Assembly speaker, has declined to take a stand on the issue. Joseph L. Bruno, the Senate majority leader, has supported legislation to outlaw hate crimes and workplace discrimination against gays, but he remains opposed to same-sex marriage. ...

“I don’t think the governor has dropped the ball on this,” said Alan Van Capelle, executive director of Empire State Pride Agenda, a gay-rights group. “We’ve been talking with the governor’s people about this. At every moment they have brainstormed with us in some very creative ways about how to accomplish this agenda.”

Mr. Van Capelle said he shared Mr. Spitzer’s assessment that the measure was unlikely to pass both chambers of the Legislature this year, but he emphasized that the governor’s proposal would give it strategic and symbolic weight.

And because it's the NYTimes, a paragraph from the genre of fantasy has to be included:
The governor has also had few opportunities to build bridges to constituencies that present the strongest grass-roots opposition to gay marriage, such as Roman Catholic Church officials and other religious leaders. Church leaders already oppose Mr. Spitzer’s support of embryonic stem cell research, and an initiative that might have softened the blow of gay marriage — a tax credit for parents who send children to religious or other private schools — did not make it into the budget this year.
Who really believes that Catholic Church would overlook marriage equality legislation in exchange for a tax credit? Please.