AP's Gormley Gripes That 'Old-time Back-room Politics' Has Delayed Same-sex Marriage Bill in N.Y. Senate

Somehow when I think of "old-time back-room politics" I don't associate it with important debates about the definition of marriage and the safeguarding of religious liberties.

But apparently AP's Michael Gormley does.

Here's how he opened his June 21 story which the Washington Post ran on page A2 (emphasis mine):

ALBANY, N.Y. — Old-time backroom politics faced down hundreds of chanting protesters from each side of the debate over same-sex marriage in New York on Monday as the issue stalled over whether religious groups could be protected from discrimination charges under legislation that would legalize such unions.

And Albany’s notoriously entrenched politics won — for now.

In fairness, Gormley was referring to New York state senators more so than the passionate pro-family activists waiting outside the caucus room. That being said, the AP reporter communicated his distaste with the legislative wrangling between the state senate's Republican majority and liberal Democratic Gov. Cuomo, griping that the impasse was a "disappointment" for same-sex marriage advocates (emphasis mine):

After a three-hour conference behind closed doors, during which groups from each side waited in a stifling hot hallway, Senate Republicans emerged without comment.

 

A vote within the conference to even move the bill to the floor for final legislative approval was pushed to at least Tuesday as private negotiations continue between Republican Senate Majority Leader Dean G. Skelos and Democratic Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, who made same-sex marriage a major initiative.

 

New York’s vote is pivotal in the national debate over same-sex marriage, and the effort largely stalled in the same room two years ago when the Senate voted it down. Since then, legislation that would make same-sex marriage legal has failed in Maryland, New Jersey and Rhode Island. Advocates hope a “yes” vote in the nation’s third-most-populous state will jump-start the effort.

 

Skelos worries that a federal judge could strike down flimsy religious protections in the current proposal if a religious group, such as the Knights of Columbus, is sued for discrimination for refusing to provide its hall for a same-sex wedding. Skelos wants protections that will allow a religious group to observe its principles without conflicting with a same-sex marriage law.

 

Same-sex marriage has entered the uncertainty of the final days of the session in Albany, where horse trading over unrelated issues brokered in private is the norm, and where measures can be weakened or dropped, followed by a fast exit. In this case, same-sex marriage is linked to resuming and possibly strengthening the New York City rent-control law sought by Democrats and a proposed limit on property taxes statewide, pushed by Cuomo and Republicans.

 

It was a disappointment for both sides of the same-sex-marriage issue, some of whom had expected a decision a week ago.

Ken Shepherd
Ken Shepherd
Ken Shepherd is the Managing Editor for NewsBusters