Gay marriage threatened in New York as Democrats defect, give GOP control

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GOP coup in NY SenateGay marriage in New York may be a distant dream now as Democrats Pedro Espada Jr. of the Bronx and Hiram Monserrate of Queens have defected to the GOP, giving Republicans 32 seats and a majority in the Senate. The re-shuffling of leadership puts the future of same-sex marriage for New York in doubt. Many have speculated that Senator Ruben Diaz a vocal opponent to gay marriage would also switch parties if any gay marriage legislation came before the Senate, but not today. Diaz remains a Democrat for now.

From the NY Times:

It was a noisy and acrimonious scene on the floor of the Senate as Senator Thomas W. Libous, a Republican from Binghamton and the party’s deputy leader, shouted for a roll-call vote, while Democrats attempted to stall the vote by asking to adjourn the session.

All 30 Republicans stood with their hands raised, signaling a vote for a change in leadership. Mr. Espada and Mr. Monserrate joined them, each raising his hand. Republicans won the vote by a 32-to-30 margin. The Senate will now be governed under a new joint leadership structure, with Mr. Espada serving as the president pro tempore, and Senator Dean G. Skelos, of Long Island, as the new majority leader.

A spokesman for former Democratic Senate Majority leader Malcom Smith called the action an “illegal and unlawful attempt to gain control of the Senate and reverse the will of the people who voted for a Democratic majority.”

It is unclear at this time why Senators Espada Jr. and Monserrate defected to the GOP. Both men are currently under investigation by the authorities, Espada Jr. for not living in his own district, and Monserrate for felony assault charges.

Post by ILO on 06/08/09 at 5:02 pm