Monday, March 14, 2011

Former Gay Marriage “No” Votes Addabbo And Huntley Now Undecided by Laura Nahmias - City Hall News

Read original...

As Gov. Andrew Cuomo met with marriage equality activists on Wednesday, former no-voter State Sen. Jim Alesi announced he was now “undeclared” on the issue.
He is not the only one. State Sen. Joe Addabbo—whose “no” vote at the beginning of the roll-call in 2009 has been tagged by some as setting off a domino effect of “no” votes that led to the bill’s failure—said he is back on the fence as well.
“You can probably be listing me as undeclared. I mentioned to pro-marriage equality groups and those in my district, I’m going to talk to the people in my district and get a consensus on where they are,” Addabbo said. “I have actually said we’ll make a better effort this time, to get a more clear idea of where the constituents are.”
There were 24 yes votes in 2009, and with the various changes from the 2010 elections, there are now 26.
Addabbo was one of eight Democrats who voted no on the measure two years ago, along with State Sens. Ruben Diaz Sr., Darrel Aubertine, Shirley Huntley, Carl Kruger, Hiram Monserrate, George Onorato and Bill Stachowski. Aubertine, Monserrate, Onorato and Stachowski are no longer in Albany. Kruger, who also voted against the bill, is reportedly turning himself in to the U.S. Attorney on possible corruption charges, leaving unclear where he will be if and when a new vote is called on gay marriage.
State Sen. Ruben Diaz Sr. is still a no, and an ardent one.
“How can the issue of homosexual marriage demand the governor’s attention at this critical time when we are supposed to be dealing with the Budget to protect the poor and the needy?” Diaz said in a statement issued Wednesday afternoon.
That leaves State Sen. Shirley Huntley. The Queens Democrat once said she would not vote for the bill even if someone were to give her a million dollars, avoided that kind of rhetoric when asked for her stance on the measure Wednesday evening.
“I don’t have any thoughts,” she said. “I’m thinking about the budget and senior centers in my district. When it comes up, I’ll think about it.”
For years, marriage equality advocates have said that several Republican Senators might be willing to vote yes on the issue if enough Democrats supported it. Possible swing votes were once thought to be State Sens. John Bonacic, John Flanagan, Betty Little, Joe Robach, Kemp Hannon and Ken LaValle.
But they do not seem to be swinging yet.
A spokesperson for Bonacic said “he voted no on it in 2010 and we don’t see a change in that position right now.”
Similarly, a spokesperson for Sen. Betty Little, who also voted no, said the Senator’s position “had not changed.”
Attempts to reach Sens. Flanagan, Robach, Hannon and LaValle were unsuccessful.
Greg Angelo, chairman of the New York Log Cabin Republicans, said, “I can say what we’ve always said. Republicans will vote yes if there are enough Democrats in favor of the bill. We’re still working closely with Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos on this.”
Skelos last year pledged to bring the issue up for a vote again, though he remains a no himself.
Republican State Sen. Mark Grisanti’s position remains unclear, even after being called out by Lady Gaga over the weekend for his position on gay marriage, while she played a concert in his district.
Music fans noted that she is set to play a concert in LaValle’s district, at the Nassau Coliseum, in late April.

-- with additional reporting by Chris Bragg