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Paterson Criticizes Marriage Vote Strategy


New York governor David Paterson spoke out Thursday against the strategy used for the vote last week on the marriage equality bill, which failed in the state senate by a wide margin of 38-24.

Paterson appeared on TheBrian Lehrer Show on WNYC, where he offered the opinion after answering a different question on marriage equality from a listener who called in to the show.

"I think that some of the orchestration of the vote on same-sex marriage, now that I've heard more abut it, was probably not the best way if you're trying to win," said Paterson.

The roll call vote on December 2, in which eight Democrats joined all Republicans in opposing the bill, has been criticized for promoting a domino effect that caused the bill to fail. Many argue that as uncommitted senators saw opposition to the bill mounting during the roll call, beginning with Senator Joseph Addabbo, a Democrat from Queens, they decided to vote against the bill and not risk political backlash over a measure destined to fail.

Paterson, who was publicly criticized by Democratic senators last week for doing little to help secure votes for the bill, said he plans to sit down with marriage equality advocates at the beginning of the new year.

Meanwhile, he argued on Thursday that senators should have used the strategy employed for the passage of the Sexual Orientation Non-Discrimination Act in 2002.

"In 2002, when we passed the Sexual Orientation Non-Discrimination Act, we did it in an entirely different way, and I think a better way," said Paterson. "I think there was a little too much what I would call West Wing politics -- in other words, there were all these different kind of deals being made," he said of the recent marriage equality vote.

"What you have to do is find all the people who want to vote for the bill, but don't want to vote for it if it goes down, put them in the same room, so that they can see there's enough individuals to pass the bill, and then hold the vote," said Paterson. "I think if a conscience vote was taken on marriage equality, that it would pass in New York. I can't say about anywhere else."

Listen to the interview here. Paterson speaks about the marriage equality vote around the 18:30 mark.

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