N.Y. Gay Marriage Bill Faces New Challenges

(AP)
With what some are describing as a "circus" in Albany, many gay marriage supporters fear that proposed legislation recognizing same sex marriage in New York will not come up for a vote in a state Senate in flux.

And now, one group is also trying harder to keep that from happening. The National Organization for Marriage announced Tuesday that they have set up a Political Action Committee for New York to fight the measure.

With the announcement, Executive Director Brian Brown also said that the first $500,000 raised will be used to back a primary challenger to GOP Senators who vote for gay marriage.

"The first half million dollars will be used in GOP primaries," Brown said. "But we are also looking to aid Democratic candidates who want to buck the establishment on the marriage issue, and to help in general election contests."

Brown said politicians were ignoring "the wishes of their own constituents."

"We're forming NOM PAC New York as a vehicle for swelling the voices of the thousands of New Yorkers who have called up their legislators and told them: Don't mess with marriage in New York," he said.

The Republicans gained control of the New York senate last week when two Democratic senators switched parties. The result was the ousting of Democratic leader Thomas Smith and elected one of the defectors, Pedro Espada, as the new president of the Senate. Later, the other defector switched back to the Democratic Party, leaving even more confusion as the Senate is currently deadlocked at 31-31.

However, the Washington Times reports that a new leader doesn't necessarily signal the end of the gay marriage bill. According to the paper, Espada is a supporter of same-sex marriage and is likely to bring the legislation to the senate floor.

However, there is also speculation Republicans will use the bill as a bargaining chip to get more Democrats to join them.

"If they get two or three more Democrats to join the 31-member caucus, there's been discussion to give up same-sex marriage bill if it gets them some Democrats," New York state Conservative Party chairman Michael Long told the Washington Times.

The same-sex marriage legislation was approved by the state assembly last month. If it passes through the Senate, New York Governor David Paterson, a Democrat, has already expressed his willingness to sign the bill to make New York the seventh state to recognize gay marriage.
  • Prerana Swami

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