Two years after she voted against same-sex marriage, State Senator Shirley Huntley stood outside Governor Cuomo’s marriage party in Chelsea on Sunday afternoon and spoke frankly about why she changed her vote.
“I guess it just got to my heart,” she said, describing one young boy who was the child of some same-sex marriage advocates.
“I could see this child was well-reared, you could just tell,” she said. “I talked to a lot of people like that – him and other people who came – you know, and I said, what the hell.”
Huntley said she had yet to hear any negative comments from within her district about the vote.
“I take good care of my district. And I’m honest with people and I tell them there are decisions I will make that they won’t like and there are decisions I’ll make that they will,” she said.
“Also I got thousands and thousands of postcards and letters from the gay community, which I also represent. So, I mean, at one point, to represent part of the district, I figure what the hell, I’ll represent all of them.”
Joining Huntley at the party were two Republican state senators who also switched their vote: James Alesi of Rochester, and Stephen Saland of the Hudson Valley. Marriage advocates have pledged to back both senators — along with two other Republican who voted yes — but Huntley was unconcerned that support might prevent Democrats from re-capturing the Senate.
“I think it takes more than money to win an election,” she said. “I think we’ll retake it in 2012.”