For eight months, since Governor David Paterson announced his intention to sign a gay marriage bill into law, New Yorkers have watched as their Legislature tossed the political football of gay marriage about. Today, after the State Assembly voted three times to approve same sex marriage, the New York State Senate voted today against same sex marriage.
There were empassioned speeches on the Senate floor, beginning with Democratic Senator Rubin Diaz, the only Democrat speaking against the bill, urging his Republican colleagues to remember their “family values” and vote against the bill. He went on to name all the states gay marriage is illegal in. He used words like “treason,” to describe the behavior of some Senators who would vote for the bill, and invoked the name of every major religion he claimed are against gay marriage.
Later, Diaz said that the reason for crime and the way “society is today” is that people leave their bibles at home.
No Republicans spoke.
As the debate was drawing to a close, Senator Tom Duane, who has been the primary sponsor of a gay marriage bill for years, spoke a long time, thanking his colleagues, saying, “I’m like a dog with a bone, I won’t let go until the last moment.” And later, “The time is never right for civil rights. The economy, wars… it’s never, ever the right time for civil rights. But the paradox is it’s always the right time to be on the right side of history.” He closed by saying, “I was out when Harvey Milk was around, I’ve been gay a long time. Soon, I’m going to be a married gay.”
Insiders reported that Duane’s lengthy speech was really a stalling tactic to rally final “yes” votes from his Republican colleagues. A slow roll call was called to allow members to return to the chamber after private discussions during the debate.
Ethics-embattled Senator Hiram Monserrate, who once had promised to vote “yes,” voted, “no.”
Throughout the debate, many senators said they would bring the bill back as many times as necessary until it passes.
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