The “nays” that could torpedo the gay marriage bill in the State Senate could come from Brooklyn legislators.
According to a poll done by this paper, at least one State Senator -- Bay Ridge Republican legislator Marty Golden -- has voiced his opposition to the bill pushed forward by Governor David Paterson last week.
But while all of Brooklyn’s other Democratic State Senators have gone on record in favor of same-sex marriage, Canarsie State Senator John Sampson said he is “undecided” on the issue. Sheepshead Bay-Mill Basin State Senator Carl Kruger did not return repeated calls for comment.
With such a tenuous hold on the majority, one or two Democrats voting against same sex marriage could cause a repeat of 2007, when the bill passed the Assembly, but was never called for a vote in the then Republican-controlled Senate.
Already, State Senator Majority Leader Malcolm Smith has announced that he would not bring the same sex marriage act to the floor until he has secured all of the votes needed to pass.
The gay marriage bill was immediately shot down by Golden.
“Governor Paterson has made serious misjudgments in the past,” he said. “Our state is in economic free-fall and there are many issues facing our citizens. Families are worried about putting bread on their table, and Governor Paterson decides now is the time to trot out a same sex marriage proposal. By introducing this bill on the day after Archbishop Dolan was installed, is not just a slap in the face to Catholics, but to all New Yorkers who respect what the Catholic Church is and what it stands for.”
“I am very disappointed with the Governor and I feel badly for all New Yorkers on this day,” he said.
Political insiders said that Kruger, the Finance Committee chair, won’t chime in on the issue anytime soon.
“[Kruger] says he doesn’t want to debate this in the press and won’t talk about it until the vote is brought to the floor, if it’s ever brought to the floor,” one insider said.
The legislation introduced to both the Assembly and Senate last week is the same as the 2007 Marriage Equity Bill, which passed the Assembly 85 to 61 in 2007.
If approved, the bill will amend the domestic relations law in relation to the ability to marry, by giving same-sex couples the legal right to wed. It also ensures that the law “does not improperly intrude into matters of conscience or religious belief,” meaning that clergy and religious leaders would not be compelled to perform same-sex marriages if they don’t want to.
While the Assembly passed the bill, many from the Brooklyn delegation didn’t vote for the measure.
Assemblymembers Peter Abbate of Dyker Heights, Bill Colton of Bensonhurst, Steven Cymbrowitz of Sheepshead Bay and Dov Hikind of Borough Park voted against the bill. Crown Heights Assemblymember Kareem Camara and Brighton Beach legislator Alec Brook-Krasny abstained when the vote was called.
Cymbrowitz said that if Speaker Sheldon Silver brings the bill to the floor for a vote this year, he will again vote against it, even though he says he is personally in favor of gay marriage.
“I’ve been elected to represent my constituents,” he said. “In my district, there are Catholics, Orthodox Jews and Sephardic Jews and many of them are against same sex marriage.”
©2009 Community News Group
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