Siena College conducted a poll of the citizens of New York and it shows strong support of gay marriage in every geographical area of the state. Denying reality is a common practice among Republicans, though, and State Senator Hugh Farley is the latest GOP Champion at the sport. Let’s hope voters in his district are heavily lobbied.
Commentary By: Steven Reynolds
In New York there’s been a lot of eyebrows raised in the last couple days by a poll out of Siena College’s
The Albany Project.” Some, such as syracuse.com’s Delen Goldberg, think the important part of the poll is Governor David Paterson’s historically low polling numbers, so much so that they omit reporting on the other aspects of the poll. The rest of the poll is the interesting part – it shows that New Yorkers in virtually every county are supportive of gay marriage. Here’s the description of the data from the Siena Poll:
By a 53-39 percent margin, voters support the Senate passing a bill to legalize same sex marriages that would virtually ensure its becoming law. Democrats, independent and young voters, and women strongly support Senate passage. Republicans strongly oppose passage, with men, older voters, African Americans, and Protestants also opposed. Support is strongest in New York City. Every region of the state supports passage.
“By a fairly significant margin, voters would like to see New York join with Vermont, Massachusetts, Iowa, and other states in allowing same sex couples to marry here,” Greenberg said. “For women and young voters it–Ÿs a resounding –yes.–Ÿ Men and older voters are more closely divided and more likely to say –no.–Ÿ “
That fits national demographics, at least concerning which segments of the population support gay marriage. Anecdotally, at least, I frequent a message board where about 98% of the population of thousands consists of young mothers (I’m a new father, myself), and my estimation is that the big majority of them support gay marriage. Still, I’m pleasantly surprised that this poll shows support for gay marriage in all counties of the state of New York. That won’t stop Republicans, though. This is going to be another of those times where they simply refuse to listen to their consituents. Here’s the response of Hugh Farley, who simply doesn’t believe the numbers int he poll, from WTEN in Albany:
Those leading the charge against the bill were mostly Republicans, such as State Senator Hugh Farley.
“I believe marriage should be between a man and a woman,” Farley said, although adding, “I have nothing wrong with a civil union.”
. . .
Despite the Democratic support, most believe that the legislation may not even come to a vote this year.
Senator Farley explained his reasoning.
“Because I don’t think there’s enough votes, and the Majority Leader says he’s not gonna’ put it up until he’s got the votes,” he said.
Farley also said that he does not believe the Siena poll is accurate.
Man, this guy is so flustered with the poll he couldn’t even get his sentences out properly. Farley chucked them all up, didn’t he? I think it is also interesting that Chuck Hugh Farley uses the term “believe” to describe his view, raiher than basing it entirely on facts. Perhaps he’s being artful, as much as he’s able, and perhaps it’s an innocent usage, but the opinions of his voters are not a matter of “belief,” but in the long run they are an important matter to him, or should be. They are the ones who appear to want gay marriage in New York, and they will vote on Farley’s continued presence in the State Senate, or simply Chuck Hugh Farley.
I am encouraged by other opinions quoted in the WTEN article:
Public sentiment has not changed the minds of many lawmakers, but Assemblyman Reilly says it has.
“Quite simply, I changed my mind,” he told NEWS10.
Reilly voted “no” on gay marriage two years ago, but now admits that public opinion has helped to change his mind about the issue.
“This was a situation, or issue, that 25 years ago was unthinkable,” Reilly said, “Today, it’s more acceptable.”
Albany Assemblyman McEneny said he believes it’s an issue of equal rights. McEneny not only voted for the bill when it passed the Assembly two years ago, but he is also a sponsor.
“When [I was] growing up, people who were gay stayed in the closet more,” McEneny said, “I think people realize today is in a more open society that there’s an awful lot of people they can identify with that are perfectly normal who just happen to have a different sexual orientation.”
Governor Paterson put fellow Democrats on the spot by endorsing gay marriage without enough votes in the Senate to pass it. With opponents like the Catholic Conference trying to block the legislation, getting the support for it is critical.
Assemblyman Reilly showed his support, saying, “I am Catholic, but I believe that priests should be married, I believe that women should be priests and I believe that gay people should have the right to be married.”
What’s encouraging here, and difficult to pry out of the poorly worded sentences, is that some lawmakers in New York are changing their minds about gay marriage, whether because of the poll or because the issue is getting more and more press, or whatever. That’s a really good sign, whether David Paterson has support for himself or not. “Chuck” Hugh Farley remains with the extremists on the right on this issue, and seemingly had such difficulty pronouncing the words “civil union” that he couldn’t put together an intelligent sentence. To me that speaks of blind grooping affter a compromise, because he knows his position is in deep trouble.
Well, I say we need to steamroll “Chuck” Hugh Farley and those who think like him on this issue. Lobbyists should carry this poll with them to rallies and to offices in Albany. This is ammunition with which to tell people like Farley that their vote counts, but so does the vote of the citizens of New York, and they want gay marriage.