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Conservative Party: Marriage is Litmus Test

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The head of the New York Conservative Party, whose political stock rose after an upstate congressional election, says that any state senator who votes for marriage equality can forget about asking for his endorsement in future elections.

Conservative Party chairman Michael Long helped to oust socially moderate Republican Dede Scozzafava from the high-profile congressional race in the 23rd district. Although Conservative Party candidate Doug Hoffman lost to Democrat Bill Owens, antigay groups such as the National Organization for Marriage trumpeted Scozzafava's support for marriage equality as the reason for her removal.

Last week, Long told the Albany Times Union that how senators vote on marriage equality will affect his coveted endorsements in 2010, when Republicans hope to reclaim the majority in the state senate.

"That happens to be one of the lines in the sand," said Long. "As far as I'm concerned, in the areas where I have a say -- and I don't have a say in every district -- one need not apply if they vote in favor of the issue," he said.

New York governor David Paterson and senate Democratic leaders have promised to hold a vote on the marriage equality bill before the end of the year.

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