Tom Duane, the only openly gay New York state senator, says that Ruben Diaz Sr. is being "a little bit of a bully" by demanding that Democrats swear to him in writing that they won't try to pass a gay-marriage bill. Earlier this week, Diaz said he wouldn't caucus with them if they didn't. But Duane says that this simply is no longer the way to get things done in Albany, now that Malcolm Smith is in charge.
"It's absurd that Sen. Diaz thinks he can bully his way on this issue," Duane said. "I guess he thinks he hasn't been getting enough attention, so he feels need to bully his way to the forefront, but that's not going to fly in the Senate anymore. He'll get used to things running in a more democratic way."
Smith, the new Senate majority leader, has pledged to delegate more power to rank-and-file lawmakers in Albany, and not to hold complete sway over what makes it to the floor of the Senate. While Duane has pledged to stay focused on the state fiscal crisis right now, he still vows to bring gay marriage before the body in advance of David Paterson's 2010 reelection run. Paterson has vowed to sign such a bill, and Duane is confident that most Democrats, and even some Republicans, will see it through.
On a related note, congratulations to all the gay and lesbian couples who got married in Connecticut today, where their nuptials are now officially legal for the first time. Now get ready for all the New York couples who are going to start heading up there to get hitched all next year — you'll know us because we're the ones not wearing primary colors.