Since 2005, Mayor Bloomberg has been open and public about his support for marriage equality, even if he doesn’t think that the state’s constitution currently makes room for it. And as of 2009, he was telling people that he could use his money to try and help pressure Republicans in Albany into voting for such a measure, but that it wouldn’t do any good because the tides were too heavily against it. But then this past fall he took the more aggressive step of taping a video for the Human Rights Campaign advocating that the state adopt a law to allow same sex couples to marry. And the Daily News reports today that he still thinks he can use his money to pressure a GOP state senator or two into changing his or her stance — and that this year, he will actually do it. “If there’s a chance to pass a bill, I will do it,” he said. “I’ll go lobby.”
In 2009, a marriage equality bill failed in the State Senate after eight Democrats and every Republican in the body voted against it. But after last year’s elections, more Democrats in favor of the bill hold seats in the Senate, and powerful governor Andrew Cuomo is throwing his back behind the issue. With the help of Bloomberg, who is the Senate GOP’s largest donor, his hopes of getting one Republican to publicly “come out” for gay marriage in order to build momentum don’t seem so far-fetched. In the meantime, Senate Democratic leader John Sampson and openy gay senator Thomas Duane are working on the three Democrats still on the fence: Joseph Addabbo and Shirley Huntley from Queens, and embattled Brooklyn senator Carl Kruger.
If you have time for a brief walk down memory lane, check out this old post from when the marriage equality bill failed in the Senate in 2009. Most of the opponents didn’t speak (with the notable exception of anti-gay Bronx pastor Ruben Diaz Sr.), but advocates like Eric Adams, Diane Savino, and Ruth Hassell-Thompson gave eloquent, memorable speeches that are still poignant today.