Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Will Monserrate, Espada affect NY gay marriage bill?

On Monday, New York State Senators Hiram Monserrate and Pedro Espada, Jr. defected to the GOP and ousted Democratic control of the chamber. It’s unknown as to how exactly the new Republican control of the NYS Senate will affect several issues like gay marriage.

Espada became the new acting state Senate President as a result of his defection and in the past he has supported the gay marriage initiative. Espada recently said that he would allow the Senate to vote on the gay marriage proposal even though he was unsure if there are sufficient legislators to approve the bill.

Joining Espada on the gay marriage issue is Joe Bruno- the Republican former Senate leader who still has plenty of influence in Albany. "It's time. Now. For the government to back off, let people make their own life decisions...." said Bruno in a sudden about-face from his past views on the issue.

But could the proposal be doomed due to the Senate coup? Espada’s predecessor- Sen. Malcolm Smith- had put the vote on hold citing insufficient support and he has been unwilling to handover the reins to Espada. Both Monserrate and Espada are mired in controversy; the former for awaits trial for supposedly beating-up his girlfriend and the latter for allegedly using a nonprofit health-care as his personal piggy bank. One of the top Latino politicos in the state senate- Rubén Díaz Sr.- is an evangelical preacher who is vehemently against the bill.

In the meantime, the Senate has been literally deadlocked while they continue with their political power struggle. Hopefully they’ll figure something out soon (ha!) and get on with the business of leading the state.

Image- New York Daily News
Online Sources- Towleroad, New York Daily News, AP, NPR, Reuters,, Gothamist

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