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Mayor Bloomberg visits Albany, lobbies GOP Senators on marriage

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Mayor Bloomberg made a trip to Albany yesterday to lobby GOP Senators on marriage equality legislation. He was joined on the trip by New York City Council Speaker Chris Quinn. The legislature should adjourn by June 20th, so the pressure is on.

The NY Times notes the Bloomberg is vowing to deliver financially for any GOP Senator who supports marriage:

Much of the time, aides said, Mr. Bloomberg listened as the Republican senators described emotional conversations with spouses, parents and children about the issue. Some spoke of a generational divide that they were struggling to bridge. A few acknowledged the difficulty of balancing the views of their constituents with those of the advocates who were lobbying them.

In pledging to support senators who back same-sex marriage — “no matter where they stand on any other issue,” the mayor said — Mr. Bloomberg is dangling a potent political carrot: his money and muscle in the next election.

It was an unusual offer that seemed to capture how important the issue has become to him: in the past, Mr. Bloomberg has resisted building endorsements around a single issue, arguing that it is unwise to judge candidates on any one vote, rather than their entire record in office.
Maggie Gallagher said that wouldn't matter, but she's wrong. Bloomberg and the other rich GOPers who support marriage have deeper pockets than NOM -- and she knows it.

Simon Garron-Caine at the Gay City News also has a report on the Mayor's trip to Albany with more details about prospective votes. So far, none of the targeted GOPers have come on board, but there's apparently some wiggle room:
Brooklyn Republican Senator Marty Golden, a confirmed no vote, said he saw Bloomberg but the two only spoke about homeland security issues. Golden is widely considered the mayor’s closest ally on city questions that come before the Legislature.

Undecided Republican Greg Ball of upstate Brewster, who was not in the Senate for the last vote but opposed the measure in three Assembly tallies, met with Bloomberg on the issue but said he remains undecided. Ball said a key theme of his meeting with Bloomberg was protecting religious institutions from being forced to perform same-sex marriages if legislation were passed.

“To the extent the mayor can work to get real religious protections in the bill to protect the Catholic Church and other religious institutions, as well as helping the legislation to create a clear definition between religious and civil marriage, I think that the mayor and others will have done a great deal in getting closer to building a larger coalition,” said Ball.

The bill introduced into the Assembly last week by out gay Democrat Daniel O’Donnell from the Upper West Side, which has passed that chamber on three previous occasions, stipulates “no clergyman, minister or Society for Ethical Culture leader shall be required to solemnize any marriage.”

Staten Island Republican Andrew Lanza, who voted against the bill in 2009 but has said he remains open to considering the issue this time, also met with Bloomberg. Lanza said his duty as an elected official to vote in what he thinks is the best interest of the people of New York is the reason for continuing to consider the issue, but said civil unions would be an appropriate way to ensure same-sex couples receive the legal benefits of marriage.

“If the vote were today, I would vote no,” Lanza said.
We need a vote by June 20th. And, both houses should vote. We need to see who is with us and who is on the wrong side of history.

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