On gay marriage, two governors take two approachesJune 21st, 2011 at 10:26 am by Ted Nesi under Nesi's Notes
The AP ran a story over the weekend about New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s energetic efforts to get state lawmakers there to legalize gay marriage:
In the past week, the Democrat has personally lobbied wavering Republican lawmakers and has said the extension of marriage rights to gays and lesbians is “a matter of principle, not politics.”
“This state has a proud tradition and a proud legacy as the progressive capital of the nation,” he said Friday. “We led the way, and it’s time for New York to lead the way once again.” …
Cuomo’s support for gay rights is already known to New York voters. His efforts this past week to get the bill through the Republican-controlled state Senate — the lone roadblock to passage — make good on an issue he ran on last year.
The contrasting approaches of Cuomo and Governor Chafee on the issue spring to mind right away. Chafee, like Cuomo, has been a vocal supporter of gay marriage, mentioning it in his inaugural address and urging a roll-call vote even with the outcome in doubt. Both faced resistance in the state Senate.
In Rhode Island, the debate ended – for this session at least – with House Speaker Gordon Fox raising the white flag and backing civil unions instead. In New York, the Senate will take a pivotal vote later this week.
Could Chafee have pushed harder and potentially secured a different outcome here? I’m not sure.
For one thing, Cuomo is in a far stronger political position, with a 61% approval rating, about double Chafee’s 32%. I don’t know enough about the makeup of New York’s legislature to say whether Cuomo’s odds of securing passage were always better than Chafee’s, either. There’s also a stylistic difference – as I mentioned yesterday, Chafee is intent on avoiding big fights with Fox and Senate President Paiva Weed. And taking advantage of the bully pulpit has never been his strongest suit.
Interesting comparison, though.