Thursday, December 03, 2009


New York magazine on the failed gay marriage bill in the New York State Senate (8 Democrats joined with all 30 Republicans to defeat the bill, 38-24):

Given they live in one of the bluer states, anchored by a city with a long tradition of liberal activism, New Yorkers might have also assumed that their Senate would be more inclined to join the handful of other states where gay marriage is legal.

Yeah, but only part of that anchor city has a long tradition of liberal activism. Here's a list of the Democrats who voted no. Of these 8, all but 2 were from the outer boroughs: Joseph Addabbo of Queens, Ruben Diaz of the Bronx, Shirley Huntley of Queens, Carl Kruger of (the non-hipster, non-yuppie part of) Brooklyn, Hiram Monserrate of Queens, and George Onorato of Queens. Many of the voters in these districts are Archie Bunkers (and George Jeffersons). They're not as far to right as Archie -- they're old-school FDR/JFK Democrats, and the non-whites are Obama Democrats, but they're not cultural-issues Democrats.

The New York Times reports that some Republicans would have voted for gay marriage if the vote had been closer:

Republican advocates who supported the bill insisted that the agreement they struck with Democrats called for Democrats, who have 32 seats in the 62-member Senate, to deliver enough support so only a handful of Republicans were needed to take such a politically risky vote.

"Several Republicans wanted to vote for this," said Jeff Cook, a legislative adviser for the Log Cabin Republicans. "But those Republicans aren't willing to take a tough political vote when the bill has no chance of passage. And that's the political reality."

But "blue" Gotham wasn't blue enough to have delivered enough Democratic votes to get the tally that close. That's the cultural reality of Democratic thinking -- while Republicans practically everywhere in America are in lockstep on virtually every issue, many Democrats, here and across the country, just aren't with the program on many issues. These senators know this was the safe way for them to vote. I don't know when, if ever, that's not going to be true in the 718.

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