New York state senator Martin Golden introduced a bill Thursday that would invalidate same-sex marriages from other jurisdictions, which have been recognized since 2008.
Senator Golden, a Republican from Brooklyn, introduced the bill with co-sponsors senator Thomas Libous, who is the deputy Republican majority leader, and senator Ruben Diaz, Sr., a Democrat and outspoken gay rights foe. The legislation has almost no chance of moving, but the main intent of the longtime marriage equality opponent appears to be symbolic.
"I am sending the message that there is some normalcy in this great state when it comes to the principled idea that marriage is between a man and a woman," said Golden, according to the New York Daily News.
When former governor David Paterson issued the executive order to recognize same-sex marriages from elsewhere, Golden unsuccessfully tried to challenge the order in court. In 2005, the former police officer turned state senator objected to advertisements for the Showtime series The L Word on bus shelters in his Bay Ridge district.
Now, Golden is among the state senators standing in the way of passage of the marriage equality bill. Although not considered persuadable, he appeared with New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg, a close ally on other issues of concern to the city, when the mayor, a major contributor to state senate Republicans, visited Albany this week to lobby for marriage equality.
"This is a slap in the face to Bloomberg," said one Democratic operative to The Advocate. "That, combined with the statement about Michael Long and God."
The operative made reference to a comment from Golden in The New York Times on Thursday about Michael Long, the chairman of the Conservative Party of New York State. Long has vowed to withhold his party's coveted endorsement from any lawmaker who votes for marriage equality, which Gov. Andrew Cuomo is pushing to pass by June.
"That fear of God he can put into people as a party leader is important," said Golden about Long to the Times. Long occupies an office in the senator's Bay Ridge district.
The closeness between the two political figures prompted speculation that Long was behind Golden's bill to invalidate out-of-state marriages, but the Conservative party chairman denied any involvement in an interview Friday morning.
"I had nothing to do with this bill," he said, adding that he does support it. "I find it very difficult to accept laws that the public doesn't necessarily agree with or being imposed upon any state that's passed by another state."
Scott Klein, an LGBT activist in Bay Ridge who has sparred with Golden over his refusal to meet with constituents about the marriage issue, thinks the senator's latest move shows that advocates are making progress. He believes the bill will backfire by making the sponsors look mean-spirited.
"Clearly, the ante has been stepped up here. I think they're feeling the heat," said Klein. "But the thing he did today by introducing this legislation that takes away rights, I think even in my district, that's really extreme. I don't think a lot of Republicans would favor that position. I think that's out of touch with his district."
As for his own sense of his southwest Brooklyn district, Golden said, according to the New York Post, that he believes his constituents "don't really give a rat's ass about social issues" and that voters want him to focus on economic matters.