More developments in the escalating anger between New York City-based LGBT activists and the state Senate, which rejected a marriage equality bill 38-24 last December. Over the weekend, gay activists met with Senate Majority Leader John Sampson and were described as "furious" because the Brooklyn politician has donated money to two senators who opposed the bill and are seeking re-election.
Sampson has angered gay advocates with his pledge to support all Senate Dems seeking reelection, including the six who voted against the same-sex marriage bill, killing it, 38 to 24. ... The LGBT community is especially concerned by Sampson's support of Queens Sen. Shirley Huntley, a "no" voter facing a primary challenge from gay-marriage supporter Lynn Nunes. Sampson gave Huntley $9,500 from his own campaign cash and tried unsuccessfully to prevent the Empire State Pride Agenda, New York's largest LGBT organization, from endorsing Nunes. Sampson is also supporting Bronx Sen. Ruben Diaz Sr., the most vocal opponent of gay marriage in the Democratic conference. ... Sampson voted "yes" last December, but he won't pledge to bring the bill up for another vote.
Adds Stonewall Democrats President Joe Hagelmann: "I don't think [Sampson] is a homophobe by any stretch of the imagination, but we'd like to see him working on our side a little bit harder."
Eight Democrats joined all 30 Republicans in opposing the bill. Of those eight votes: Hiram Monserrate has been expelled and lost a special election. Another no-vote, Sen. George Onorato, is retiring. Five of the remaining six face serious primary or general election challenges. Huntley and Diaz Sr. were the only two Black senators to vote against marriage. Pro-equality Lynn Nunes is challenging the Queens Democrat in the September 14 Democratic primary and is racking up considerable support and more cash than the incumbent.