As New York Democrats prep for a fight to legalize gay marriage in the state, Republican lawmakers have introduced a bill that would invalidate any same sex marriages legally performed by other states.State Sen. Martin Golden (R) introduced a bill Thursday that, if passed, “amends the domestic relations law, in relation to rendering the status of same sex marriages entered into outside of New York void under New York law.”
In 2008, then-Gov. David Paterson (D) signed an executive order that forces New York state agencies to recognize same sex marriages performed in other states. This new bill, co-sponsored by state Sen. Ruben Diaz (R) and Deputy Majority Leader Tom Libous (R), would scale back Paterson’s order.
“I am sending the message that there is some normalcy in this great state when it comes to the principled idea that marriage is between a man and a woman,” Golden said of his bill, Celeste Katz of the New York Daily News reports.
Senate Democratic spokesman Austin Shafran said in a statement: “It’s unfortunate the Senate Republicans continue to show hostility to protecting equal rights for all New Yorkers. Whether it’s on rent regulations or marriage equality, Marty Golden has proven he is out of touch with his district by once again putting the political priorities of his Republicans colleagues over the city he’s supposed to represent.”
The bill will not likely make it out of the state Assembly, which is controlled by Democrats, and which has passed legislation to legalize gay marriage several times. Another bill, introduced by Assemblyman Daniel J. O’Donnell (D), is currently pending.
But the state Senate is another story, where gay marriage legalization has failed each time its been brought up. Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) has indicated that he wants to push through gay marriage legalization before the end of the current session, but is working on wrangling up the votes. “We don’t want to bring a bill up in the Senate that would fail,” he said.
And local forces are mobilizing for the fight. The National Organization For Marriage (NOM) announced it will spend $500K in a campaign against legislators who vote in favor of gay marriage. Michael R. Long, the chairman of the Conservative Party, has also proven a powerful and steadfast opponent of gay marriage. It’s been around thirty years since a Republican has been elected statewide without the support of the Conservative Party — and according to Long, no Republican who supports gay marriage will get it. “In order to get the endorsement of the Conservative Party, one of the deal breakers is traditional marriage,” he told the New York Times> last week. “You say ‘I’m not for traditional marriage,’ you’re not going to get our endorsement. It’s as simple as that.”
But, as the Times reported, not all conservatives in New York are opposed to gay marriage, and several wealthy donors, who typically donate to Republicans, have recently sent some cash the way of gay rights groups involved in the fight. From the Times:
Their behind-the-scenes financial support — about $1 million in donations, delivered in recent weeks to a new coalition of gay rights organizations — could alter the political calculus of Albany lawmakers, especially the Republican state senators in whose hands the fate of gay marriage rests.
The donors represent some of New York’s wealthiest and most politically active figures and include Paul E. Singer, a hedge fund manager and top-tier Republican donor, as well as two other financiers, Steven A. Cohen and Clifford S. Asness.
An April Siena poll showed that an all-time high of 58% of registered voters in New York support gay marriage.