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02 June 2009

Comments

Giselle

'''Shirley Huntley, another Queens Democrat, says she is so opposed to marriage equality that "if they gave me a million dollars, tax free, I just wouldn’t vote for it."''


what a dumb lying wh@re.

Nathan James

I was at the Marriage Equality Rally over the weekend in Astoria. I had the opportunity to discuss the issue with several elected officials, and all of them agreed that gay marriage will pass in the State Senate when there is not just a majority, but a clear consensus. Lots of people forget that there's this place called "upstate", and voters there are not as open-minded or liberal as those in the NYC area.

On the NYC front, Sen. Malcolm Smith's office is right around the corner from my house, on Linden Blvd, St. Albans, in Queens. His district, while heavily minority, is decidedly conservative on gay-rights issues. Smith (and others who as Democrats favor the marriage bill), also keep re-election in their minds at all times, and it is this thinking which I believe impels him to look for a mandate from Senate Democrats.

As he and others from his office are fond of saying, "we do support gay rights, but we need to be sure this is the will of our constituency". Well, here in St. Albans alone, there are (at least) sixteen old-style black churches, including Floyd Flake's Allen AME Church, a required campaign stop for ALL Democrats seeking city- or statewide office. Even Bill and Hillary have called on Flake, who himself served several terms in Congress. It is to this constituency that Sen. Smith has his ear turned. Gays and lesbians are a silent group in this part of Queens, partially because of the overwhelming presence of (homophobic) black churches. This is not sour grapes, it's political reality, and I think it sheds some light on Sen. Smith's reticence to call for a vote unless he feels he is on stable ground. He has to come home to St. Albans, you know...

Realpolitik aside, I hope Sen. Duane is correct, and we get a gay marriage law before June 30. As Rod says, "we'll see."

Jim

Thank you for that informative report, Nathan.

Rod Mc

@ Nathan:

Thanks so much for your report.

I know exactly what the neighborhood you're talking about. I used to live in Rosedale, Queens, right behind JFK and near Jamaica. It's a middle class, black, conservative neighborhood. Jamaica and St. Albans are very church heavy. If you go up and down Liberty Avenue near the Jamaica Center there is a church on every block, sometimes two. Sutphin Blvd is the same way.

But it was still very quiet and homey, reminded me of where I grew up on Chicago's South Side. -RM

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