Gay marriage as farewell

Gov. David Paterson's newfound energy to pass a same-sex marriage bill may look like a political resurgence. But in reality, it could serve as one of the final acts of his governorship. Since the Obama White House apparently conveyed its desire in mid-September that Paterson not run for governor in 2010, some Democrats have been searching for legacy accomplishments that would give Paterson a graceful exit.

Permitting gay marriage in New York is perfectly on point for this governor, considering his socially progressive past as the State Senate Minority Leader. He championed same-sex marriage then. Passing this legislation would restore New York, somewhat, to its glory days as a leader in social causes. Six other states have already passed similar measures. Seventh isn't first -- but it's better than never.

State Senate Democrats, in particular, have criticized Paterson for abandoning his progressive roots when he rose to governor. This legislation would help heal that fissure and begin writing a positive legacy for the governor.