New York votes
June 24th, 2011
6:56: The Senate has reconvened.
They are discussing an education bill.
The education bill passed and they are now making speeches about why they voted for the bill. As best I could tell there was no controversy so this is basically just wasting time for the hope of being quoted in the local paper. (ooops.. still not voted on…. but so far they all seem to love this bill. I’m really not paying it much attention)
[gotta run for a moment… hope I get back before the marriage vote]
7:22: I’m back. They’re still talking about the education bill.
“Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I stand to support/oppose this bill. I wish to repeat exactly what everyone else already said when they stood to get their words down for the papers. I especially want to thank you, Mr. Speaker for your patience in listening to everyone of us ramble on an on, as you and you alone are actually listening.”
7:31 This appears to be Sen. Grisanti’s bill. He is one of the “undecided” votes. I can’t help but wonder …
7:37 And the SUNY bill passes 51 to 11
Moving right on to the Property Tax Cap
7:50: Rent control, property tax caps, and on an on… I know that this is of extreme importance to many New Yorkers so I should be less impatient.
8:08: Sen Diaz has finally said something with which I agree:
Mr. President, tonight is going to be long I believe. And you’ve already noted that some people never agree with me. (he was one of the 11 no votes on the education bill)
8:13: The Catholic Church has weighed in on the concessions that were made on their behalf and at their insistence. As expected, they are as arrogant as always.
“The Bishops of New York State oppose in the strongest possible terms any attempt to redefine the sacred institution of marriage. The matter of religious exemptions has been and continues to be a secondary issue that in no way negates the fact that this bill is bad for society. We urge all Senators to vote no on Governor Cuomo’s bill. Marriage has always been, is now, and always will be the union of one man and one woman in a lifelong, life-giving union. Government does not have the authority to change this most basic of truths.”
If those issues are so secondary, Bishops, what say we just remove them?
08:30: They are still talking about what the press is calling The Big Ugly. Everyone seems to be discussing it in terms of not being quite happy but seeing it as a step in the right direction. Which is a bit amusing as many of them seem to be stepping in different directions.
8:35: After all that talk bill passes 57 to 5 (Diaz voted no… let’s hope he remains an albatross)
Moving right along to Livery car tax.
[I’m heading home… Jim will keep and eye on things… I very much doubt that the marriage bill will come up before I get back to you]
[Jim Burroway takes the helm]
9:43: I have no idea what happened to the Livery car tax. Maybe someone can catch us up with that vital bill in the comments. Right now, Sen. Stephen M Saland (R=Columbia County) is explaining the religious exemption provisions that have been added to the marriage bill. His is listed as “undescided.”
9:47: Sen. Saland has just announced that he will vote for the bill! “I have to do the right thing by treating all persons with equality,” including marriage. A very elequent message, and the needed thirty-second vote.
9:50: They are calling the role to accept the amendments, but Sen. Diaz has asked to explain his vote against the bill. He just read the Catholic vote, and calls on other Catholics to vote according to the church.
9:51: Sen. Hannon (R-Nassau Co.) is now explaining his vote. He had been listed as a no vote. But with the religious exemptions that were added along with the inseverability clause, he is also voting yes.
9.53: The amendments are passed! 36-26!
9:55: Now the roll is being called for the bill itself. Sen. Ruben Diaz (D-Bronx) is speaking against the bill, and is visibly angry with the direction things are going.
9:57: Diaz is “making the Republican party do what the Democrats failed to do when they were in the majority.” The speaker is trying to get Sen. Diaz to hold to his two-minute limit, but Diaz is still speaking. Does he think he can run out the clock?
10:00: Blah, blah, blah… The house speaker is trying to rush him along, and Diaz is only getting more agitated.
10:01: Sen. Diaz is way over his two-minute time limit, and Diaz is still arguing the rule.
10:02: Finally, Sen. Diaz has stopped blabbering and sat down.
10:12: Sen. Thomas K. Duane (D-New York) is now speaking about coming out to his parents. “In the 1980s when people in my community and my neighborhood started of AIDS, if the surviving partner’s name was not on the lease, they got evicted. And I remember going to legal organizations and said they needed help, but they said, no, families will never be recognized.” That led to a state Supreme Court decision protecting non-traditional families. Republicans and Democrats joined together the pass hate crimes legislation and non-discrimination acts. He thanks Gov. Cuomo for his “truthful and strong leadership on this issue.” He also thanks Majority leader Skelos and Minority leader Sampson, and most of all, his partner Lewis. “My nieces and nephews know us as a couple, and we are like married to them…. Marriage says that we are family, Lewis and I are family. And marriage strengthens my family and will strengthen all families.”
10:17: Sen. Mark Grisanti (R-Erie and Niagara Co.) was originally listed as undecided. He was originally against same-sex marriage, but after studying the issue has decided to vote for the marriage equality bill. “By doing the research I believe shows integrity. I wouldn’t respect myself if I didn’t do the research and make an informed decision for the issue that is before me. … I cannot legally come up with an argument against same-sex marriage.” He points to the religious protections in the bill, and feels confident as a Catholic and as a lawyer that the religious institutions are protected. “Civil unions are not equal and cause chaos.” Marriage is the only way to guarantee the rights to same-sex couples that he has. “I apologize to to those who feel offended and were hurt by my votes six months ago, but I do believe someone can be wiser than they were six months ago.”
10:17: They are going into a very brief recess, but right now it looks like that when the roll call results are announced, marriage equality in New York will be a done deal.
10:19: I’m seeing reports that a massive crowd in converging at the Stonewall Inn in New York. Police are trying to keep Christopher Street open to traffic, but it may soon become a lost cause.
10:21: Focus On the Family just now sent out a fundraising appeal to their email list:
While we pray for a resounding victory in New York, Focus on the Family remains committed to upholding marriage and urging men and women to engage the culture in its defense—just as we’ve seen 31 states already uphold marriage at the ballot box. Will you partner with us as we share the importance of protecting God’s design for marriage as well as provide resources to ensure our own marriages—especially those of the household of faith—are healthy and well-rooted in Christ? Please make your gift today.
I guess they haven’t been watching the live stream.
10:26: Senate is back in session. Sen. Carl Kruger (D-Kings Co) is explaining his yes vote. He was one of the no votes in 2009, but explains that the religious exemptions are why he is voting for marriage equality. He is now trying to burnish his pro-gay credentials despite that earlier vote. Oh, well, a yes vote is a yes vote, and when the votes are this close, every vote matters.
10:30: They have announced the results: 33-29. Marriage Equality passed in New York!
The bill will go into effect thirty days after signed by Gov. Cuomo.
When I decided to leave for home I assumed we were hours away yet. But traffic was LA Friday night traffic and then my computer decided that it needed to do updates. And then something went wrong and …. well, anyway, I’m here for the celebration.
Congratulations, New Yorkers