Wednesday, March 17, 2010

A defeat for gay marriage foes

A few months ago, when a bill that would allow same-sex couples the right to marry came before the New York State Senate, gay leaders expected a vote of support from Hiram Monseratte (left) of Queens.  In fact, he gave his word that he would vote on our side.  But when the vote came up, Monseratte stunned everyone by voting against same sex marriage.

When Monseratte was later expelled from the senate on domestic abuse charges, a special election was called.  Monseratte decided to run for his old seat.  Gay activists and leaders such as Cynthia Nixon (remember her video from last week?) vowed to do everything in their power to defeat Monseratte by supporting a pro-equality candidate, José R. Peralta (right).  The election was in many ways a test case to see just how influential pro-gay marriage folks could be, since there are plans to target other state senators who voted against marriage equality.  As Cynthia Nixon said, "We tried the carrot.  Now it's time for the stick."

The good news is Monseratte lost Tuesday night, and lost big,  by about 3-1.  Same sex marriage was a huge issue in the election, and voters made themselves clear.  Polls have showed that a majority New York voters support same-sex marriage.  On Tuesday the voters in Queens just might have been the first of many to deny reelection to politicians who are on the wrong side of history.  A few more elections like this one, and we'll have the votes when gay marriage is again taken up by the New York State legislature.

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