Kathryn Montalbano: After a 3-hour debate today in the New York State Assembly, the future of gay marriage in New York–and ultimately, the nation–remains unsolved and undistinguished from concurrent deliberation, including a property tax cap and New York City rent control.
Meanwhile, rallies in Albany–for and against gay marriage–have highlighted the preeminence of the issue amongst New York citizens despite the bill’s languid movement within the Senate’s walls. While the fight for gay marriage, led by Governor Andrew Cuomo, a Democrat, remains relatively civil inside, tensions amongst and between protesters outside have steadily increased throughout the day. According to Sharon Baum of New York City, “This is not about religion, this is about civil rights.” Opposing protesters singing “This Little Light of Mine” and chanting “God says ‘No!’” apparently disagree with Ms. Baum.
While recent efforts in New Jersey, Maryland, and Rhode Island have failed to contribute to the national gay rights movement, hope is brewing around the pending outcome in New York, with demographics rendering it the third-most populous state in the nation.
The primary tenets of the opposition, framed by religious leaders as concern for lack of legal protections, have been identified and deconstructed by Huffington Post blogger Jay Michaelson. Though the debates are expected to continue throughout the rest of the week, Republicans are allegedly leaning toward supporting the bill. Thirty-one senators, including two Republicans, have publicly confirmed their support for gay marriage: the bill needs 32 votes to pass to make New York the sixth and largest state permitting gay marriage.
Perhaps just as (if not more) heated as the Albany debates have been Twitter polling and advocacy. Republican Senator Greg Ball tweeted to his followers on Saturday night: “Opening up the discussion! So, if you were me, how would you vote on gay marriage? Yes or No?” Even more prominent in the Twitter world (and undoubtedly, in the real world), Lady Gaga contentiously used the social medium to incite her “little monsters” to battle. Some worry that her well-intended involvement may have exacerbated the effort for gay marriage due to the deluge of followers bombarding state senators during this crucial time.
The one Democrat in opposition to the bill, Senator Ruben Diaz from the Bronx (as well as a Pentecostal minister and President of the New York Hispanic Clergy Organization), as of today characterized gay marriage in New York as “inevitable” despite the large following he had amassed amongst Hispanic Christians last week.