malcolm in the middle

Same-Sex Marriage Has Made Some of Malcolm Smith’s Relationships Awkward

Plenty of politicians hold views on certain issues that clash with the approved stance of their churches — pro-choice Catholics, for example — but New York’s marriage-equality-supporting Senate Majority Leader, Malcolm Smith, is in a more unique position. Not only is Smith’s reverend, Floyd Flake, more than mildly opposed to same-sex marriage, but he’s also been Smith’s mentor and friend for over twenty years. At a service last Sunday, Floyd intoned,

Ain’t nothing perfect about laying down and signing a license with somebody who got the same body parts you got.” Mr. Flake went on for about two minutes, much to the delight of many in the pews, who cheered and applauded as the church organist punctuated the reverend’s words with notes from “I’ve Got a Woman,” by Ray Charles.

Subtle! Looking on at the time, presumably with a hint of discomfort, were Smith’s wife and senior aide. Smith is a regular at the church, and though he and Flake talk “nearly every day,” they’ve recently avoided the topic of marriage, which we imagine is a pretty difficult elephant to ignore nowadays. But at least the two have remained on good terms. The same can’t be said about Smith and governor David Paterson, according to Fred Dicker. Their disagreement over when to bring same-sex marriage up for a vote has pushed their tensions to “the boiling point,” with Paterson bizarrely blaming his low numbers on Smith’s blackness, and Smith fuming at Paterson for trying to push him around. With Smith feeling pressure on both sides — from a strenuously anti-gay-marriage friend and an adamantly pro-gay-marriage colleague — the weeks remaining until the Senate’s June recess probably seem like an eternity.

Marriage Bill Poses a Test of Loyalties: Church vs. State [NYT]

Same-Sex Marriage Has Made Some of Malcolm Smith’s Relationships Awkward