Wednesday was as much of a split decision in the gay marriage debate as you may ever see.
The State Senate of New York voted along partisan lines to defeat a measure that would have put advanced a priority of Gov. David Paterson. It cannot be raised again as a legislative issue until the 2011 session.
According to one Republican lawmaker, the focus on the economy overshadowed any chance the issue had of passage.
“Certainly this is an emotional issue and an important issue for many New Yorkers,” said Senator Tom Libous, the deputy Republican leader told The New York Times. “I just don’t think the majority care too much about it at this time because they’re out of work, they want to see the state reduce spending, and they are having a hard time making ends meet. And I don’t mean to sound callous, but that’s true.”
The National Organization for Marriage, which was a major financial player in Maine’s recent overturn of gay marriage legislation there, hailed the vote.
“This is a huge win, it puts the nail in the coffin on the idea that gay marriage advocates can persuade a majority of Americans their cause is just,” said Brian Brown, Executive Director of NOM, in a press release. “New York makes it crystal clear: the American people do not support gay marriage and they do not want their politicians messing with this issue.”
The release indicated NOM spent $600,000 in advertising, automated calling and voter solicitation during the past several months in New York.
In Washington, D.C., however, the City Council easily passed a measure which went a long way toward codifying gay marriage by an 11-2 margin. Earlier in the year the council had decided to recognize gay marriages from other states. The additional steps needed to make the measure law are viewed as largely perfunctory at this point.
The bill’s lead sponsor is Councilman David Catania, who is gay.
“It really speaks to the long and rich tradition of tolerance and acceptance that does make up the sense of place in the District of Columbia,” Catania said before the vote, according to The Washington Post.
Maryland minister Harry Jackson, who spoke to Everyday Christian this summer about his opposition to the bill and his role as a clerical opponent to gay marriage, told the Post the only real options for opponents can come in court.
New Jersey is the next apparent battleground. The Newark Star-Ledger reported today that a Senate committee is slated to take up a gay marriage bill on Monday. A vote in the full chamber could come as early as next week.