New York Republican Senators–Can They Bank on Gay Support?


As an outsider I marvel at the power of the news that the recent gay marriage success in New  York has had.  Little ripples of encouragement have reached far and wide.  There is no doubt this is a massive step forward in the battle for equality and acceptance.    

One of my regular contacts told me this should be taken as a clear message of what can be achieved when ‘we’ as a community work as one,  toward one goal.    It’s clear that a great many people came together to make a stand from hard-core gay rights campaigners,  to celebrities, to politicians, to equality groups as well as millions of individuals. 

However,  as the dust settles on the victory and the jubilant celebrations, many are asking what the future political landscape of New York will look like.   If the community can stand firm,  the power of a long memory could strike a harsh knife in the election booth. Or equally a strong show of support

“New York Senators that Betrayed Marriage.” proudly claims a new flyer that has started to appear on the streets of this major international city.  Their are bio’s and  photos of the four Republican senators who voted in favour of marriage equality last Friday.  These are the prime targets on a new campaign launched by the National Organization for Marriage,  an organization that wishes to persecute gay people and deny gay people equal rights.  Don’t think this is a marginal group,  they claim themselves they are plunging over  $2 million into the battle of discrimination,  some of that funding they say, coming from a massive internet group with the colourful logo.

There are other moves afoot from grass roots Republican groups, organisations who are keen to push around and challenge those who voted for the bill. The fate of the four senators, whom Gov. Andrew Cuomo, a Democrat, called “people of courage,” will surly send a big signal to other states where advocates hope to push forward the  momentum seen in New York.   How the NY gay community treat those four will have a lasting impact.  

“I probably will need some significant support from anyone who wants to help me spread this message,” said James Alesi, recently,   he was the first of the three big name Republican senators  to switch sides and vote in favour of the bill  and equality in general.

Roy McDonald, Stephen Saland, and Mark Grisanti, his three colleagues haven’t been quite so vocal in their support,  but did vote for the bill, despite calls from some very big names in the Republican party.

The question is simply clear,  will the New York gay community stand behind those four republicans?      The implications either way,  are not so clear cut and will have increasingly powerful repercussions. 

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