Gay Marriage After New York

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
June 25 2011 9:33 AM

Gay Marriage After New York

The vote was 33-29 : New York becomes the sixth and largest state to allow gay marriage. And naturally my thoughts to turn how the pro-traditional marriage movement can stop this. The National Organization for Marriage moved quickly:

The National Organization for Marriage’s president Brian Brown doubled his previous pledge, promising to commit "at least $2 million" in elections in 2012 to make sure Republicans understand that voting for gay marriage has consequences... NOM’s pledge to commit at least $2 million in the 2012 elections to hold politicians accountable for their vote includes independent expenditures as well as through NOM PAC New York.

"The New York Republican Party is dysfunctional. When Democrats control a chamber, they refuse to permit the people to vote for marriage. When they are a minority, as in Wisconsin and Indiana, they even flee the state to prevent a vote on a bill their base disapproves," noted Maggie Gallagher, Chairman of NOM. "Contrast that with the behavior of the Republican party today."
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Why the focus on beating Republicans, something that activists have to wait 15 months to do? Because unlike in California or Maine, where NOM et al rolled back legal gay marriage with referenda, it's incredibly difficult to bring up a plebiscite in New York. It may become easier, as the legislature is moving a referendum bill, but look at the details -- if this passes, it's going to be far less easy to gather petitions in New York than it is in California.

And does the project begin with enthusiasm? Last night saw the first-ever ratification of gay marriage by a Republican legislature. You had a body controlled by the GOP; you had one of the most determined and virulent (and unconvincing!) opponents of gay rights, Ruben Diaz Sr, in the Democratic conference. But go and read Michael Barbabo's tick-tock of how this happened. You can hear the din fading on the opposing side.

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter. 

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