• Gay BlogAds

  • Gay News Watch

  • Chris Tweets

  • « Will Obama follow Rudd's example? | Main | NY Dems throw gays under the bus »

    November 30, 2008

    Will NY Dems renege on marriage pledge?

    Posted by: Andoni

    After a pledge from New York Democratic leaders that their party would legalize same-sex marriage if they won control of the State Senate this year, money from gay rights supporters poured in from across the country, helping cinch a Democatic victory.

    This has been the campaign promise to our community for years. The state of New York could/would pass a pro-active same sex marriage bill for gays if only the Democrats could gain control of the State Senate, something they had not done in 40 years. The State Legislature had already passed such legislation and both former governor Eliot Spitzer and current governor David Paterson supported gay marriage and promised to sign the bill if it landed on their desk. In fact both stated they would push for the legislation.

    The LGBT community received innumerable letters and phone calls asking for money to turn the NY Senate Democratic with the singular goal of passing same sex marriage explicitly stated. The effort worked, and in the aftermath of the Prop 8 loss in California I stated that at least we were going to get marriage equality in NY as a consolation prize. How wrong I was.

    You can imagine my surprise, hurt, and anger upon reading in yesterday's New York Times that despite their explicit pledge NY Dems May Skip Gay Marriage Vote. This is even worse than what Chris describers as a lowering of expectations at the national level.

    I mean I understand their excuses for postponing the vote:

    1. they don't want to do anything too controversial because they want Governor David Paterson to win his next election
    2. after the blowback by the electorate over Prop 8 in California, they have concluded this is too controversial an issue and the voters may punish them for it
    3. the Democratic leader of the NY senate is having a hard time getting every Dem to vote for him to be Senate Leader. A couple of Dems will vote for the Republican if he intends to bring the marriage bill to a vote.

    These are all excuses.

    Chris points to Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd who fulfilled all his promises to gays within his first year in office.Why are our politicians so cowardly?

    In other countries when a candidate or party wins an election, they treat it as if the candidate and his stated positions come together as a package. The electorate knew what the candidate promised if elected, so when that candidate wins, the public seems to accept the result as the people having spoken on the total package, the candidate (or party) and the positions.

    Why are we so different?

    I'm not sure what the answer is in NY, but I believe a promise is a promise and we should hold them to it. If some Dems choose to change to Republican, so be it. At least we will know who is against us and try to defeat them next time.

    It's time to start making politicians realize that promises mean something and if they break them there will be consequences.



    TrackBack URL for this entry:


    1. Kevin on Nov 30, 2008 12:11:16 PM:

      Consequences, Don? What consequences? A very strongly worded letter?

      There will be no consequences for the Democrats. All of our leverage is completely gone.

    1. Lucrece on Nov 30, 2008 3:30:58 PM:

      This is very much the fault of the LGBT organizations that keep feeding them money.

      I say let the money get to the homeless LGBT youth centers that face the threat of being closed, among other things.

      The gay community won't get anywhere until they stop groveling to Democrats.

    1. Hawyer on Nov 30, 2008 4:57:13 PM:

      Dems take our money and send us to Hell because they can. They know we have no place else to put our political cash?

      AND the Republicans have so tainted the well on our civil rights with their incessant gay-baiting - that a bare majority of mainstream America consider us to have human qualities sufficient to qualify as full-fledged citizens.

      And now we are faced with the Prop 8 victory in California - which - by point of fact - is our most devastating political defeat to date.


    1. Bob on Dec 1, 2008 10:55:42 AM:

      Democrats know that the gay community's money will continue to flow its way largely because of the HRC. A large portion of gay persons will continue to support the HRC because, let's face it, A-Listers love a good black tie, see and be seen party.

      We have dug our own hole here. By refusing to support a pro-gay politician simply because they had an R by their name, we have lost any goodwill inside the Republican party and let the Dems know that we will go on blindly supporting them.

      Our only choice now is to follow the example of the Tim Gill. Directly support the candidates (regardless of party) who support our issues and then demand they follow up on their promises or target (yes target) them for defeat in the following election. It is time for gay people to get out from under the bus and start driving our own destiny.

    1. GMRinSAN on Dec 1, 2008 12:50:24 PM:

      Bob said:

      "Our only choice now is to follow the example of the Tim Gill. Directly support the candidates (regardless of party) who support our issues and then demand they follow up on their promises or target (yes target) them for defeat in the following election. It is time for gay people to get out from under the bus and start driving our own destiny."

      I say: spot on. Kevin is right: what consequences exactly are we discussing here? A "strongly worded letter"? I certainly hope we can come up with better than that. But the fact that we're having these conversations - that we recognize now that nice words from Democrats do not progress make - is a good thing.

      I am more thankful than ever that this site exists to help flesh out these ideas and debates.

    1. VirtualGalt on Dec 1, 2008 7:05:42 PM:

      All the LGBT community is to the Dems, is a big ATM. Smile pretty, punch the buttons, out comes the cash.

      There will be no ENDA, no DADT repeal, no UAFA, no hate crimes act.

      I've cast my lot with the Libertarians.

    1. Tim on Dec 1, 2008 7:49:14 PM:

      I'm not as pessimistic as Kevin, I think that the gays like any other political group and refocus, and come back to the table with a more cohesive set of political ideals and actually work the political machine instead of just slavishly following the Dems over a hill. But it takes time and conviction and it doesn't happen over night.

    1. tristram on Dec 2, 2008 12:08:41 AM:

      First, a party is not a candidate. It is not monolithic entity. Party leaders can make "commitments," but anyone with a grain of sense has to understand that these are commitments to do their best. Without the votes of their caucus members, they can do no more.

      Andoni, you gloss over the fact that the deciding bloc of NY Dem senators apparently represent ethnic constituencies which have grievances against the party very similar to yours (and those of the other posters on this thread). Their constituents are also not friendly, in some cases they're hostile, to gays and gay rights. And no amount of gay huffing and puffing is going to scare these Senators about losing their seats.

      More importantly, there has been one of these famous 'paradigm shifts' which you appear not to have noticed. The NY senate situation is a direct and INEVITABLE result of the California debacle (compounded by devastating results in FL,AR and AZ). There are some politicians, Dem and Rep, who claim to be open-minded but harbor a residue of homophobia that's always looking for an excuse to surface. There are others who are quite genuinely open-minded, but tend to go the way the wind is blowing. What happened in CA (together with FL, AZ and AR) turned the wind against us from coast to coast.

      Everyone, from Obama to your city councilor is going to be very careful pushing gay-friendly measures of any sort. And in many states the theofascists are gearing up to try to take back adoption rights, employment and hate crimes protections and other recent lgbt gains.

      In the NY Senate situation, ethnic issues and religious prejudices appear to be outweighing party affiliation. It would be nice to think that a couple of Republican senators might opt for decency and equality and counterbalance the recalcitrant Dems. But I'm not holding my breath for our LCR friends to make that announcement.

      And I don't see the advantage pushing for a vote we know we'll lose. Falling on one's sword is certainly a romantic concept. But in a world where perception often creates reality, we don't need to enhance the growing perception that we can't win 'democratically' via the ballot box or legislation and are entirely dependent on judges to shove our rights down the throats (yeah, I know ) of an unfriendly majority of voters and elected reps.

    1. mikealvear on Dec 2, 2008 10:07:39 AM:

      Did anybody see the Advocate's cover story, Is Gay the New Black? Did anybody else think they let the African-Americans who voted Yes off the hook? Somebody needs to hold that portion of the black community accountable. And by that I don't mean BLAME. I mean holding a mirror up. The way MLK did to that part of white America that objected to black civil rights. Mirrors have a way of double-checking our self-perceptions. If I were the editors of the Advocate, I would have put an African-American clutching his Yes on 8 ballot on the cover, looking into a mirror, and seeing George Wallace smiling back.

    1. Bob on Dec 2, 2008 10:18:39 AM:

      Then quite simply the Dems should quit promising things they can't deliver. However, I believe the blame doesn't lay with the Dems but with us. GLBT activists, donors and voters have for too long been content with the empty rhetoric spouted by the Democratic Party in regards to our issues. Expecting a politician or for that matter a political party to deliver when they have courted and raised millions of dollars from a particular constituency isn't unreasonable. The UAW wouldn't stand for it. The Teacher's Unions wouldn't stand for it and neither should GBLT citizens.

    1. gkruz on Dec 2, 2008 8:02:55 PM:

      "If I were the editors of the Advocate, I would have put an African-American clutching his Yes on 8 ballot on the cover, looking into a mirror, and seeing George Wallace smiling back."
      No editor, or publisher, of the Advocate (or any other LGBT publication) would have the courage to do any such thing; they would be too afraid of being accused of racism.

    1. Michael C. on Dec 3, 2008 10:24:19 AM:

      And we'll just be told to be patient and not ask for too much for "just another" election cycle.

    1. Chuck on Dec 4, 2008 1:18:24 PM:

      So, now what? We just sit and wait?

      The great moral majority has spoken...and that's it?

    1. Carlo Capomazza on Aug 6, 2010 7:54:43 PM:

      What's the update to your map with CA's recent court ruling? And also re: NY? Keep blogging!

    The comments to this entry are closed.

    © Citizen Crain - All Rights Reserved | Design by E.Webscapes Design Studio | Powered by: TypePad