Prominent gay activist Ethan Geto told New York magazine that if the NY Senate Democrats don't bring same-sex marriage to a vote, there will be "hell to pay. The gay community is going to walk away en masse." Of course, having them walk away one-by-one is what the Senate is trying to prevent by stalling a vote. That is, if senators are forced to vote, they will put themselves on the record, and gay activists will divide them into two groups for the fall 2010 elections. Supporters will receive cash donations -- and the opponents, who knows? Activist organization Empire State Pride Agenda has not revealed its strategies to target opponents next year -- at least not in public.
Few senators will even say where they stand on gay marriage, for fear of putting themselves in the sights of one side or the other. The Catholic Church holds a lot of power on Long Island. ESPA, Geto and others want a floor vote in the Senate, so they can count their friends. That's ironic, isn't it? Gay advocates trying to "out" New York's elected officials.
Rather than taking a vote of conscience, Senate Democrats would apparently prefer to protect their jobs. Talk about unconscionable. People in public life should be prepared to say what they believe.
Geto's statement today ups the ante by threatening to work against the entire Democratic caucus if they don't hold a vote -- or maybe just the leadership that prevents the vote from coming to the floor. It's a potentially successful new tactic. Will it work? Stay tuned.