Can Joe Bruno Rescue Gay Marriage?


With only a fortnight until the end of Albany’s legislative session, Governor Paterson is leaving no stone unturned in his quest to wrangle up the votes to pass his gay-marriage bill. Today the Daily News reports that Paterson is trying to enlist former GOP Senate majority leader Joe Bruno to lobby his fellow Republicans — which is fairly surprising, considering Bruno’s history on the issue. As the News recalls, Bruno once referred to homosexuality as an “abnormal lifestyle” and denied Senate staffers domestic health-insurance benefits, though by 2002 he had evolved enough on the issue to push the Sexual Orientation Non-Discrimination Act through the Senate. Despite that apparent progress, in 2007 Bruno refused to bring a gay-marriage bill for a vote in the Senate, and just last year he threatened to pass a Defense of Marriage Act to negate Paterson’s directive to state agencies to recognize same-sex marriages performed out of state.

Of course, what really ticked Bruno off about Paterson’s directive is that it bypassed the legislature, a supposedly outrageous affront to the majority leader’s power and authority. Now Paterson may truly need Bruno’s help in securing a historic gay-rights achievement, and Bruno is apparently “considering” the offer. Who knows where Bruno currently falls on the gay-marriage support-spectrum, but he no doubt appreciates (and perhaps relishes) how the tables have turned.

Governor David Paterson reaches out to ex-GOP boss Joe Bruno on gay marriage [NYDN]