Did Same-Sex Marriage Lose Out in Smith’s Deal?

ALBANY—Despite the coy confidence of one of the most outspoken critics of gay marriage that the issue won’t come up this legislative session, advocates of same-sex unions don’t believe they were sold out by Senate Democrats, as was reportedly the case in an earlier deal to make Malcolm Smith the senate majority leader.

Alan Van Capelle expressed qualified outrage then, but this week he issued a statement lauding Smith’s election as majority leader. In an interview afterward, he added that he’s confident the issue can pass this legislative session.

“I’m confident that if our community does the work that we need to do, and we’ve traditionally been good at, that we can win the bill. I don’t think it’s the role of the majority leader to twist arms,” Van Capelle said. “I have 100 percent confidence that if we have the votes to pass the bill, then the majority leader will bring that bill to the floor for a vote.”

If that’s true, then why did State Senator Ruben Diaz Jr., an outspoken critic of same-sex marriage, say he was “satisfied” with how things turned out when he publicly stated he wouldn’t vote for someone who would bring gay marriage to the floor?

A few scenarios.

First, as was floated by Liz Benjamin, he was told to come into line or watch his son’s chances of being borough president evaporate. And that would trump the marriage issue.

Second, Diaz knows something Van Capelle doesn’t.

Or third, maybe the reverend simply thinks he can beat the gay rights lobby in an arm-twisting match.

Did Same-Sex Marriage Lose Out in Smith’s Deal?