ALBANY—Explicit in State Senator Malcolm Smith's announcement this morning was that same-sex marriage– reported to have been moved off the table to gain the support of Senator Ruben Diaz Sr.–would not be a bargaining chip in continuing negotiations for the chamber's leadership.
"Real reform cannot and should not ever include limiting the civil rights of any New Yorker," Smith said. "Those issues must be part of the legislative process."
Not surprisingly, advocates are pleased.
Empire State Pride Agenda's Alan Van Capelle issued a statement saying, "We applaud Senator Malcolm Smith's ongoing efforts to lead the new Senate Majority that voters chose during the recent elections. By stating that reform in the Senate cannot include bargaining away civil rights, Senator Smith has once again demonstrated his commitment to standing up for all New Yorkers."
Assemblyman Danny O'Donnell, who is openly gay and passed a same-sex marriage bill in his chamber last year, said he was glad that the issue is no longer on the table.
"In the end, what's supposed to happen on all of these subjects is that legislators are supposed to get the chance to make that case to their colleagues. That's what legislators are supposed to do," O'Donnell said.
He also said, "In the end, who becomes the majority leader and who controls the chamber will determine–whether it functions as Malcolm iterated today, like a true legislative body, or whether it operates where every issue is held captive to one individual's point of view."