Same-Sex Marriage in N.Y. -- 2009 or 2010?

New York senate majority leader Malcolm Smith says marriage legislation still doesn't have enough votes in the chamber to pass.

BY Kerry Eleveld

February 12 2009 1:00 AM ET

Smith assured the
crowd that he would “never forget” the time
and effort contributed by gay activists and added that
even though people are used to politicians saying one
thing and doing another, “that’s not
going to happen this year.”

The expansiveness
of Smith’s comments on marriage equality and LGBT
civil rights -- even invoking Dr. Martin Luther King
Jr. from an Alabama jail saying, “whatever
affects one of us affects all indirectly” -- is,
at the very least, a positive sign of his commitment to
advancing gay legislation. Just months ago, reports
surfaced that Smith may have promised socially
conservative Democrats he would delay a vote on gay
marriage in 2009 in order to secure his spot as the
Democratic majority leader. Smith eventually walked
away from those discussions but won the leadership
post nonetheless.

If gay activists
still question his commitment to LGBT concerns, his
speech aimed to quell their doubts.

"As the national
debate over gay marriage continues, we are winning in
the court of public opinion,” he said. “I
believe that the opponents are gripped by a kind of
all-consuming passion, if you will, to derail the
rights of same-sex couples to unite under the Lord. But
there is a spreading consciousness that your vision,
your positive vision, will ultimately prevail."

Whether it
prevails this year or next is still in the hands of the
fates. But the window of opportunity is not infinite,
as Gov. David Paterson, who is probably the most
pro-LGBT leader the state has ever seen, will
undoubtedly face a tough reelection bid in 2010.

Tags: Politics

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