Saturday, June 25, 2011

The Remarkable Story Gay Marriage in New York

The NY Times has a great piece today telling the remarkable story of how Democratic Gov Andrew Cuomo won passage of a gay marriage bill in the GOP controlled NY Senate.

Cuomo knew to win enough Republican votes for passage he would have to follow the money.
In the 35th-floor conference room of a Manhattan high-rise, two of Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s most trusted advisers held a secret meeting a few weeks ago with a group of super-rich Republican donors.

Over tuna and turkey sandwiches, the advisers explained that New York’s Democratic governor was determined to legalize same-sex marriage and would deliver every possible Senate vote from his own party.

Would the donors win over the deciding Senate Republicans? It sounded improbable: top Republican moneymen helping a Democratic rival with one of his biggest legislative goals.

But the donors in the room — the billionaire Paul Singer, whose son is gay, joined by the hedge fund managers Cliff Asness and Daniel Loeb — had the influence and the money to insulate nervous senators from conservative backlash if they supported the marriage measure. And they were inclined to see the issue as one of personal freedom, consistent with their more libertarian views.

Within days, the wealthy Republicans sent back word: They were on board. Each of them cut six-figure checks to the lobbying campaign that eventually totaled more than $1 million.
The GOP's long term problem is that you cannot build a lasting majority with anger, bitterness and sometimes just outright hate. Americans have never gone for this, and that is even more important today with younger voters perhaps permanently alienated from the GOP and it's religious fundamentalism. Fortunately for Republicans the Democratic opposition is so often impotent and ineffective.

It is feats like this -- passing gay marriage through a GOP controlled senate -- that make politicians legendary.

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