On Anniversary of NY Gay Marriage Vote, GOP Senator Has No Regrets

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

A year ago this week, New York State Senator Jim Alesi, a Republican, made the politically risky move to vote in favor of legalizing same-sex marriage.

He was the first in his party to support gay marriage publicly. And in an interview Tuesday, the anniversary of his vote, he said he wouldn't take it back.

"You look over the last few months and say the world has not changed dramatically," Alesi said. "It still turns around 24 hours a day, but lives have changed for the better, those people that now can be married."

Alesi had sided with his party and voted "no" on same-sex marriage when a bill came before the Senate in 2009. He appeared to agonize over his vote at the time. A week before the bill came before the Senate again in 2011, he announced he would vote "yes," becoming the first Republican to support legalization.

Three more Republicans would follow suit, and on July 24, 2011, same-sex marriage became legal in New York with a 33 - 29 vote in the Senate.

Conventional wisdom among the GOP had been that support for gay marriage was political suicide. The state's Conservative Party has called support for same-sex marriage a "deal breaker" for their endorsement, and Republican leadership remained opposed to legalization until the end.

"I received the usual kind of political threats that, you know, We're gonna kill you politically,' etc, etc," Alesi said. "But there were also a lot of people that were just everyday people that I wouldn't have expected to come up to me and say they were going to support me, that they believed it was courageous."

Blowback from more conservative constituencies may have contributed to Alesi's decision not to test the waters in a Republican primary against Assemblyman Sean Hanna, who would run against Alesi in the newly-created 55th Senate district. His political fate aside, Alesi said he remains 100 percent certain he did the right thing.

"For those people that were against it I don't see how anything has changed for them. I can't say the world has gotten worse. I think it should be better for everybody."

Alesi said he attended a same-sex wedding Monday night, the eve of the vote's one-year anniversary. "It was pretty much like every other wedding," he said.


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Comments [3]

Jewish voter from NYC

Alesi is so stupid he would say the same thing if the Nazi party came to power

Jul. 29 2012 04:16 AM
juljo from BKLYN

listener's politics are evident and very cynical.

Obama had a lot to lose by supporting gay marriage which is why I believe he did not do it in his first term election. It offends a wide base of his supporters(African American churches) and yet he still came out in support of it. Why because polling shows that as many folks are for it as are against it.

I do not care if we do the right thing out of moral obligations or to gain favor - as long as we DO THE RIGHT THING!

Jul. 25 2012 10:42 AM

Now compare this State Senator's "politically risky move" to the President's self-centered politically expedient move calculated for what suited his campaign coffers in an election year. Sadly many besotted progressives fell for this cynical deception just like Obama knew they would or else they have been lied to so often by this President they are accepting self serving politics with civil rights virtue.
Unlike the Republican State Senator's vote, Obama's change heart resulted in nothing but cash donations to him so he could keep power.

Jul. 24 2012 07:58 PM

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