Monday, January 30, 2012

Opponents of Same Sex Marriage in New York State Turn Out to Be All Hat and No Cattle

Republican Who Voted to Approve Same Sex Marriage Being Protected by Republicans

Last year when several Republican members of the New York State Senate voted to approve same sex marriage, there were dire predictions about their electoral future.  The prevailing wisdom was that they would be punished, in fact the small but influential Conservative party said they would not endorse any Republican who voted for equality and equal rights (our words not theirs).

State Conservative Party Chairman Mike Long has vowed not to give his party's endorsement to any Senate Republican who voted for last year's gay marriage law

It was also expected that the fury of the Republican leadership over the issue would doom the re-election chances of the Republicans who voted against the party of prejudice on the issue.  But reality has a way of interfering with ideology.  As New York state redraws State Senate Districts, the Republicans have made a major effort to protect the seat of State Sen. Mark Grisanti, one of the Republicans who changed his mind on the issue of equality of marriage.

Given the enrollment edge of Democrats in his district, and possible political opponents, Republicans, who control the Senate by a 32-30 margin, needed to move Sen. Mark Grisanti of Buffalo into a safer district.

Given the enrollment edge and possible political opponents
, Republicans, who control the Senate by a 32-30 margin
, needed to move Sen. Mark Grisanti of Buffalo into a safer district.
Derek Gee / News file photo

Senate Republicans today unveiled what they hope will be a more politically friendly seat for freshman Sen. Mark Grisanti of Buffalo, whose new all-Erie County district will become less Democratic and with far fewer African Americans voters.

Mr. Grisanti’s new district, if ultimately approved will be entirely within the suburbs of Erie County, the Republican leaning part of the western New York landscape that is centered around Buffalo.  In addition to being more Republican friendly, there is another advantage to the new district for Mr. Grisanti

But by keeping Grisanti's district within one county, the Erie County Conservative Party can endorse Grisanti without Long's involvement. It is uncertain, yet, if the local party will back Grisanti, whose re-election chances would be enhanced if he had both the Republican and — smaller, but influential — Conservative line.

So at the end of the day Mr. Grisanti’s decision to put principle above party may well result in his re-election and continued indefinite stay in the New York state Senate.  And all that talk about punishing supporters of equal rights, well that what it was, just talk.

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