Marriage equality fails in New York

MARRIAGE EQUALITY FAILS IN NEW YORK…. New York’s state Assembly had already approved same-sex marriage this year, and Gov. David Paterson (D) was anxious to sign the measure into law. All that was necessary was the state Senate to pass the bill, and rumor it had the necessary number of Republican votes had already been lined up.

Indeed, it was poised to be a historic day in Albany — right up until the chamber voted.

The State Senate defeated a bill on Wednesday that would legalize same-sex marriage, after an emotional debate that touched on civil rights, family and history. The vote means that the bill, pushed by Gov. David A. Paterson, is effectively dead for the year and destroys the optimism of gay rights advocates.

The bill was defeated by a decisive margin of 38 to 24. The Democrats, who have a bare, one-seat majority, did not have enough votes to pass the bill without some Republican support, but not a single Republican senator voted for the measure.

I’d heard as late as this morning that the votes really would be there, and that some GOP moderates would break ranks and support equality. It’s unclear, at this point, whether a) Dems in the chamber are just bad at counting; b) some Republicans went back on their word, or c) a little of both.

Regardless, it’s another civil rights setback, on the heels of last month’s disappointment in Maine.

The arc of history is long, and it bends towards justice, but sometimes that bend isn’t nearly as sharp as it should be.

Update: A Marist poll released today shows a majority of New Yorkers supporting legal, same-sex marriage.