Paterson: Marriage Failed in ‘Stampede’

ALBANY—David Paterson said he was “surprised” that legislation legalizing same-sex marriage failed by such a large margin–24-38–in the State Senate, and that he isn’t going to push for another vote anytime soon.

“I won’t reintroduce the issue unless I see substantial change in the position of the legislators,” Paterson said this morning on WHAM. “If I saw some change next year I would reintroduce it.”

He said yesterday, in a floor appearance after the bill’s failure, that he did not believe it was a vote of conscience. This morning, on several radio stations, Paterson said that several Republicans, and other Democrats who had pledged to vote in favor of the measure, did not because they saw which way the vote was going.

“What happened was people don’t want to go down on a losing ship,” he said on WHAM.

“When it starts to lose, it’s kind of like a stampede. I think if you had a conscience vote, like a secret ballot, the vote would have been closer,” Paterson said on WOR.

The governor also said that, despite an outcome he found disappointing, the result was a triumph for good government. He has witnessed only one other bill fail in the State Senate–a measure legalizing casino gambling–in 1996.

“It’s like Halley’s comet,” he told John Gambling on WOR. “You’d better savor it, because it may not come again for another century.”