Roy McDonald will vote yes on same-sex marriage

roy mcdonaldThe Capitol media Twitter feeds erupted late this afternoon with news that state Senator Roy McDonald -- who reps Rensselaer County and most of Saratoga County -- will vote yes on the bill that would legalize same-sex marriage. That brings that vote count in favor to 31 (one short of a majority).

Said McDonald to the Times Union's Jimmy Vielkind:

"I'm trying to do the right thing. Rather than wait I worked with the governor ... I'm not out to alienate anybody. This is driven by compassion. ... My lifestyle is my lifestyle -- I don't want anyone telling me or my children what to do."

McDonald, as quoted by the NYDN's Ken Lovett:

"You get to the point where you evolve in your life where everything isn't black and white, good and bad, and you try to do the right thing.
"You might not like that. You might be very cynical about that. Well, f--- it, I don't care what you think. I'm trying to do the right thing.

And McDonald quotes via tweets by NYT's Danny Hakim:

"I think I'm doing the right thing, it's the appropriate thing, and if the public respects that, I'm grateful. If they don't... then I move on. ..."
"I'm tired of blowhard radio people, blowhard television people, blowhard newspapers. They can take the job & shove it."

McDonald had voted "no" the last time around, and he's said for weeks that he was undecided on the issue. He had been the subject of some intense lobbying lately, including a billboard along I-787 urging him to support same-sex marriage. He becomes the second Republican Senator to say he'll vote "yes."

There's a clip of McDonald talking about his decision, after the jump.

Andrew Cuomo submitted a bill today that would legalize same-sex marriage (the bill is embedded after the jump). From the memo for "The Marriage Equality Act":

Section 3 of this bill would add new Section 10-a to the Domestic Relations Law (DRL) providing that: (1) a marriage that is otherwise valid shall be valid regardless of whether parties to the marriage are of the same or different sex; (2) no government treatment or legal status, effect, right, benefit, privilege, protection or responsibility relating to marriage shall differ based on the parties to the marriage being or having been of the same sex rather than a different sex; and, (3) all relevant gender-specific language set forth in or referenced by New York law shall be construed in a gender-neutral manner.

The Cuomo admin says the bill aims to keep civil marriage separate from "the religious institution of marriage." One of the provisions of the bill amends the current law "to make clear that no member of the clergy acting in such capacity may be required to perform any marriage."

The bill would take effect 30 days after it's signed.

A similar bill has passed the Assembly in previous years and is expected to do so again. Dean Skelos has said the Senate could have a vote on the bill this week. [Daily Politics]

Via State of Politics:

Marriage Equality Bill Memo

Marriage Equality Bill

photo: Roy McDonald Facebook


Best News of the Week!!!!! :-D

So pleased.

Who is the next target?

Thank you, Sen. McDonald. As a Democrat and straight person I am impressed!

I can't sit by silently and watch this tragedy unfold. Our state government has no right or power to change the definition of marriage. There is no discrimination taking place, and nobody is being deprived of any right. Please take the time to read the following; according to the NYS Court of Appeals 2004 ruling in Hernandez v. Robles:

"By limiting marriage to opposite-sex couples, New York is not engaging in sex discrimination. The limitation does not put men and women in different classes, and give one class a benefit not given to the other. Women and men are treated alike—they are permitted to marry people of the opposite sex, but not people of their own sex."

"We conclude, however, that there are at least two grounds that rationally support the limitation on marriage that the Legislature has [previously] enacted. Others have been advanced, but we will discuss only these two, both of which are derived from the undisputed assumption that marriage is important to the welfare of children"

"First, the Legislature could rationally decide that, for the welfare of children, it is more important to promote stability, and to avoid instability, in opposite-sex than in same-sex relationships. Heterosexual intercourse has a natural tendency to lead to the birth of children; homosexual intercourse does not. Despite the advances of science, it remains true that the vast majority of children are born as a result of a sexual relationship between a man and a woman, and the Legislature could find that this will continue to be true. The Legislature could also find that such relationships are all too often casual or temporary. It could find that an important function of marriage is to create more stability and permanence in the relationships that cause children to be born. It thus could choose to offer an inducement—in the form of marriage and its attendant benefits—to opposite-sex couples who make a solemn, long-term commitment to each other... The Legislature could find that unstable relationships between people of the opposite sex present a greater danger that children will be born into or grow up in unstable homes than is the case with same-sex couples, and thus that promoting stability in opposite-sex relationships will help children more. This is one reason why the Legislature could rationally offer the benefits of marriage to opposite-sex couples only."

"There is a second reason: The Legislature could rationally believe that it is better, other things being equal, for children to grow up with both a mother and a father. Intuition and experience suggest that a child benefits from having before his or her eyes, every day, living models of what both a man and a woman are like. It is obvious that there are exceptions to this general rule—some children who never know their fathers, or their mothers, do far better than some who grow up with parents of both sexes—but the Legislature could find that the general rule will usually hold."

(end quote)

Our state legislators should recognize that each child has a right to a father and mother, and should be raised in the most stable environment available. This is the only reason government has any say in marriage at all, and our state government needs to protect this institution instead of applauding its denigration.

Preserve Marriage -

Why would the goverment not have a right or power to change the definition of marriage? Isn't it they who created it for heterosexuals? So it should be them who also creates it for homosexuals.

The court decision below is simply saying there could be a basis for the law as it was written. It doesn't necessarily mean there is a basis. Perhaps you should gain some legal education before you start quoting court cases and acting like you know what you are talking about.

@Preserve Marriage In response to this quote:

"The Legislature could find that unstable relationships between people of the opposite sex present a greater danger that children will be born into or grow up in unstable homes than is the case with same-sex couples, and thus that promoting stability in opposite-sex relationships will help children more"

As of Sept 2009 there were 423,773 children in foster care in the US. (

based on your quote "Despite the advances of science, it remains true that the vast majority of children are born as a result of a sexual relationship between a man and a woman"

I'd say your case for heterosexual relationships being a pillar of stability is pretty much shot. :-/

Preserve Marriage, I didn't even get past the first sentence, because I've heard enough from people like you, and I'm not going to let you poop on my cloud.

That being said....YAY! Now if only people can get to Rubin Diaz. Seriously, what is his deal???

Preserve Marriage, what exactly is the "tragedy" you think is occurring? Is it the possibility that people who love each other will be allowed to be legally married and receive equal rights as other married couples? Is it the possibility that children will be raised by two loving, committed parents?

You state that "Our state legislators should recognize that each child has a right to a father and mother, and should be raised in the most stable environment available." If gays are given the right to marry, their children will still have a mother and a father, although not ones who are married to each other (like many children whose parents are divorced or who have never married). Children WILL be raised in stable environments by loving parents.

Your argument doesn't really have merit. Personally, I have never seen an anti-marriage equality argument that makes valid points based on solid facts. In all honestly, all I've ever seen from anti-equality people are statements of their own fear, ignorance and prejudice--and this is the kind of narrow-minded, bigoted thinking I deeply hope our elected officials are able to see past to make the right choice.

The current state of affairs regarding the treatment of homosexuals in this country is the "tragedy." This is one *small* step towards ameliorating that tragedy.

When will these people learn that their opinions on this issue are not welcome in a civilized society. If you want to have your little hate parties and speak disparagingly about homosexual's lifestyle do it in the privacy of your own home. There is no reason you have to throw you bigotry in everyone's face.

Jackers, if discussion of the issues is going to be met with cries of "hate parties" and "bigotry", then we've proceeded into mob rule.

You'd think that those who embrace "tolerance" wouldn't be so quick to brand a thoughtful, albeit wrong-headed post out of hand, as "not welcome in a civilized society."

It is the mark of a civilized society that EVERY viewpoint is welcome.

tl;dr Jackers is an ass for espousing tolerance only when it results in his or her favored manner of speech....

I am always confused when childrearing is brought up as an argument against same-sex marriages.

I'm no expert, but last I heard, aren't around half of newborns born to unwed parents? I think the "downfall of the family" has more to do with the laissez-faire attitude to which is given to people making new people without any committment to each other, the child or themselves..

& that being said, I can anyone really forsee the rate at which same sex couples are having children dramatically increasing due the the legalization of their marriage? Based only on the handful of homosexual friends I have, none of them are holding off on their life plans together (living together, buying homes, having children) because of their lack of a right to marry.

& what about those wacky marriages that never produce children at all? Is my marriage less valid or holy or whatever since we are happily and permanently child-free?

It's true. Living in this great country of ours, everyone is entitled to their opinion, and has the right to express it [reasonably].

I, fortunately, also have the right to ignore it.

I, too, ignore opinions that don't make sense.

Movin on: Whooooooooot!!!!

Government marriage licenses as we know them weren't standard practice until the early 1900's. The government did not create marriage, just like the government did not create our rights. Jefferson wrote in the Declaration that these rights are a natural part of being a human being - just like one man and one woman having the ability to create life and their responsibility to establish stability for that life. Perhaps it is you who should take a second look at the legality and history of your claims.

Foster children come from tumultuous and unstable parenting situations. These children (most of which come from unmarried mothers and fathers) are most often placed with married parents to provide a more stable environment. This system reinforces the point about heterosexual marriage being a "pillar of stability."

If you're unable to listen to people with whom you disagree, then perhaps if I jokingly tell you this is a GOOD idea you might change your ways :)

Your statement about the child of same-sex parents having a mother and a father (although they don't know them) is very tenuous. By your standard every living human has the benefit of a mother and father simply because they have life. I use the terms 'mother' and 'father' to mean adult, opposite gender role models and parents who are an every day part of their child's life. Every child deserves the opportunity for this because this scenario gives most children the healthiest and most stable environment. The intentional prevention of this chance for a child for the social acceptance and pleasure of two adults should not be encouraged.
Nobody is telling gay couples they cannot love each other, cohabit, or have equal protection under the law. Those rights are established and should stand.

You have hateful words and "speak disparagingly" about people who calmly disagree with you... should YOU be allowed to "throw your bigotry in everyone's face?"

I definitely agree that the number of children born to unwed parents is staggering. A childless heterosexual marriage is not invalid, and I'm glad you brought that up. My point about an adult man and adult woman providing a stable home for a child still stands. Even if it is medically impossible for these heterosexual parents to have their own children, they could certainly be foster parents or adoptive parents.

I am not "unable to listen to people with whom I disagree," I choose not to listen to people who make me angry. This issue, people like you and your makes me angry. And while I recognize your right to your opinion and respect it, it still makes me angry. Marriage isn't about children anymore. The times have changed. I am a married woman who has no desire to have kids. It's not medically impossible, I just choose not to. I do not want to be a foster or adoptive parent. I don't want kids. Period. And that's fine. Just like same-sex couples who want to enter the same state of matrimony that my husband and I were fortunate enough to choose (wow, there's that wacky word again) to enter, it's fine. Why it should be anything but fine is a concept that it completely lost to me.

Preserve marriage -
I quote from your own comment:

"Jefferson wrote in the Declaration that these rights are a natural part of being a human being"

Those seeking to be in same-sex marriages are indeed human beings - so what is your point?

"Nobody is telling gay couples they cannot love each other, cohabit, or have equal protection under the law. Those rights are established and should stand."

We wouldn't be having this conversation if this were the case.

I mean that all men and women are free to enter into a marriage - "marriage", of course, meaning one man and one woman. My point is that the government cannot change the definition of marriage because government did not establish marriage.

@ Summer - BINGO!!! Couldn't have said it better..

Obvioulsy the government didn't establish marriage.

I'm not sure and don't care who did as I'm not a huge believer in the institution to begin with (which is half the reason I'm fine with same sex marriage, but thanks for validating my made-up childfree marriage just the same!).

However, the government does regulate marriage or else I could drag my toaster oven out to my front yard and have my cat marry us. Which, frankly, I still don't think is anyone's damn business but mine & Mr. or Ms. Toaster Oven.

What does that even matter? Is it a religious point you're trying to make?

I respect anyone's choice to be religious & do whatever that entails but you need to respect anyone else's right to not give a hoot.

Preserve, the government isn't changing the definition. There have been regulations on marriage on a state-wide basis forever. For example, did you know in NY it's legal to marry your first cousin (gross!)? Did you know, that in Georgia, Missouri and Hawaii, you only need to be fifteen years old (as long as your folks say OK)? Did you know that laws banning interracial marriage (anti-miscegenation laws) weren't overturned until 1967? 1967!!! The supreme court had to step in because some states refused to let go of their own fear and hatred, even so recently as 1967.

All the government does is say who is allowed to marry whom. And like anti-miscegenation laws, the change is happening, because the wheels of progression are ever turning. Marriage is changing with the times.

You want to "protect the institution of marriage"? Try doing something about the divorce rate first. It makes absolutely no sense to me that anyone would want to prevent two loving, consenting adults who wish to maintain a strong, long-lasting relationship from having said relationship be legally recognized when almost one in two marriages currently fail. What are you afraid of, that the gays will make the rest of us look bad by comparison?

To continue the "childless marriage" thread: If a heterosexual married couple is childless by choice and that doesn't invalidate their marriage, that blows your "it's for the children" idea out of the water, doesn't it? And gay couples are certainly capable of raising perfectly normal, well-adjusted children as well, be they biological or foster/adopted, assuming the law isn't afraid of letting them do so.

@ike and @ Preserve Marriage -

Regardless of your comment's irrelevance to my own, I might point out that while I strongly believe in the right of individuals to espouse their own opinions, I think it's a mistake to be so tolerant that we tolerate intolerance.

And @ike, did you really just call me an ass? THAT'S IT! You an me, after school, under the oak tree! ( just in case your still confused:).

Fight! Fight! Fight!

Thank you Sen McDonald!!!

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