The Advocate is reporting that the Log Cabin Republicans have engineered an agreement with New York’s GOP that will allow legislators to “vote their conscience” on Gov. Paterson’s marriage equality bill rather than be pressured by their party to vote against it.
The development could be particularly important in the Senate, where Democrats hold a slim 32-30 majority, four Democrats have already said they would vote against the marriage bill, and equality advocates will need to pick up a handful of GOP votes, give or take, in order to pass the legislation. Strategists expect the legislation to sail through the Assembly which already passed the very same bill in 2007, 85 to 61. Jeff Cook, legislative advisor for the Log Cabin Republicans, said the decision stood in stark contrast to the tack taken in 2007 when Assembly Minority Leader Jim Tedisco and the GOP leadership pressured Assembly Republicans to vote against marriage equality. “We were successful in that environment in getting four Republicans to vote ‘yes,’ making it the first bipartisan vote on marriage in a legislative chamber,” Cook said. “But we would have probably done better is there was a ‘vote of conscience.'”
The LCR is calling this move an “important turning point” in the battle.
I must grudgingly admit that the LCR has been churning out some surprisingly positive work over the last week, first generating very pro-gay statements from Meghan McCain and former New Jersey governor Christine Whitman, and now this.