Live-Blogging Albany

Andrew Sullivan —  Jun 24 2011 @ 6:55pm

10.55 pm. A reader writes:

I am remembering my friend from childhood who lived gay and died gay without ever telling anybody and I didn’t know what he’d suffered til he’d died. Maybe if he could have been able to live in sunlight he’d be alive today. Oh I wish that were so.


Sob away, Andrew. And congratulations for your two-decades-long crusade. As for me, I take great comfort that, in whichever direction I drive, when I cross into another state (New Hampshire to the east, Massachusetts to the south, New York to the west) or another country (Canada to the north), Mike and I are still married in the eyes of our neighbors. Feels discombobulating, to be honest.

The scene outside the capitol:


10.49 pm. And all I can fucking do right now is sob.

10.31 pm. I hear the cheers from below. This is the moment that marriage for gay couples became irreversible in America. It matters for all the reasons I laid out here. And they seem to sense the moment of this in the Senate Chamber. This is, in many ways, the moment this movement hoped for for so long, as what seemed like a dream two decades ago, has now come to fruition.

I dedicate this moment to Patrick, and all those who could not live to see this day. But they are with us now in Heaven, and we can know at least we – and so many straight people – did not let them down.

10.30 pm. 33 – 29. What a Gay Pride New York is going to have.

10.26 pm. Again a moderate just needed religious protections to pave the way for his vote. And notice how the epidemic also affected him. I find myself choking up.

10.25 pm. This is like watching England play a World Cup final in overtime. My last gay nerve is frayed.

10.21 pm. Ah Dish readers:

You wrote:

“10.06 pm. Downstairs, they just put on “New York, New York.” The Liza Minella version. “It’s up to you, New York, New York!”

Sadly, it’s the version they play at Yankees losses. Not sure which side they’re thinking lost…

It’s a gay bar in DC, not Yankee stadium. And Liza, of course has already had a gay marriage, so give ’em a break

10.18 pm. Those cheers we heard earlier, by the way, were for the Amendment passing, not the bill. It passed 36 – 26.

10.06 pm. Downstairs, they just put on “New York, New York.” The Liza Minella version. “It’s up to you, New York, New York!”

10.21 pm. Ah Dish readers:

You wrote:

“10.06 pm. Downstairs, they just put on “New York, New York.” The Liza Minella version. “It’s up to you, New York, New York!”

Sadly, it’s the version they play at Yankees losses. Not sure which side they’re thinking lost…

It’s a gay bar in DC, not Yankee stadium. And Liza, of course has already had a gay marriage, so how appropriate?

10.15 pm. Grisanti is making the speech from the center: a classically decent Catholic position. “I believe a person can be wiser today than yesterday.” And the emphasis on religious freedom is important and critical to the argument. The best speech so far by far – even though Duane and Diaz were so emotionally brimming they made for compelling television.

10. 04 pm. Tom Duane is telling the story of my life and of many others. And the critical impact of the plague on this movement is rightly remembered tonight. That’s why I spent the 1990s and beyond fighting for this issue so passionately – for the sake of those I lost, to insist that they did not die in vain, to do something as constructive as the plague had been destructive. And I knew what equality really meant: the right to marry. To hear his story tonight is to see all those faces again, the pain and agony they went through, the indignities they endured the discrimination they faced. But he too knows the rules and should wind this up.

10.02 pm. I’m blogging this, by the way, in the upstairs room of a gay bar in DC. Seems appropriate.

10.00 pm. When will Ruben Diaz shut up? This is getting absurd. He seems utterly indifferent to the rules of the Senate. And the bullshit he’s offering – the hysterics and hyperbole and allegations that he is being denied his right to speak are preposterous.

9.49 pm. CHN says of a “very rare” gesture:

Saland chooses not to yield to questions from Rev. Ruben Diaz #badass

9.46 pm. CHN:

In one of the worst cases of bad timing i’ve ever seen, @MikeBloomberg and @ChrisCQuinn announces budget deal press conf for 10 pm tonght

9.44 pm. CT:

Assuming Gannett’s reporting is correct and Sen. Saland is voting “yes,” #gaymarriage in NY will become legal tonight.

9.40 pm. Note that, as seen in the meter above, more than 33,000 people are watching the live-stream. CHN tweeted earlier that it “usually has between 25-250 viewers”.

9.36 pm. CHN:

Saland speaking first indicates he is a yes vote on the bill

Capital Tonight:

Saland: “conflicts resolved in favor of religious exemptions.”

9.34 pm. NYT’s Confessore:

Republican senator Saland, swing vote, rises to speak. Baited breath.

His colleague Kaplan:

It’s trite to say that people are on the edge of their seats – but, literally, people are on the edge of their seats.

9.30 pm. CHN: “here we go”.  Debating begins.

9.24 pm. Capital Tonight tweets, “Kind of an uncomfortable lull right now #samesexmarriage” and uploads a pic:


Nate Silver uploads a photo of “several hundred people gathered outside” Stonewall:


9.16 pm. As the GOP senators file back into the chamber, Capital Tonight tweets:

No #ssm in Rules, Senate GOP spox says. Taking bill straight from the Assembly to the floor for a vote. This is imminent, Tweeps.

9.14 pm. City Hall News spots the only Democrat who opposes the marriage bill:

Ruben diaz sr standing alone on empty republican side of the aisle looking up at the gallery and whistling

9.12 pm. Still waiting for Senate to reconvene before marriage vote. Michael Gormley reminds us:

NY would be only the 2nd state, after Vermont, to legalize marriage through a legislative act, without being forced by a court.

9.03 pm. NYT’s Kaplan:

I’m in one of the two Senate galleries. Both filled to capacity. Senate guard instructing troopers on keeping order, hushing protests, etc. … Judging from t-shirts and buttons, etc., #gaymarriage advocates represent vast majority of crowd.

HRC’s Brian Ellner:

Lots of singing, lots of love in the Capitol tonight. #NY4M

Capital Tonight tweeted a pic of marriage supporters:


8.49 pm. Senate in recess for 15 minutes.

8.46 pm. Rev. Heath:

They are currently on the Omnibus bill. After this they will take up the livery bills. Then they will move to Rules. And then, justice. … The omnibus bill has passed. We are getting close.

8.41 pm. Recent tweets from City Hall News:

Senate Livestream usually has between 25-250 viewers. We’re trending up to 16,000 now.

RT @ascottfalk: Watching #NYSenate with @jianyc, who is laughing hysterically every time someone says “mandates.” (“Man…dates!”)

RT @reidepstein: Tidbit: The NYS Assembly #gaymarriage sponsor, @danieljodonnell, is the brother of Rosie O’Donnell.

8.33 pm. I’m moving the “Why New York Matters” below the live-blog. But it says everything I have to say right now. Scroll further down for previous breaking marriage equality posts.

8.31 pm. A New Yorker sends in this photo, taken earlier this week.


They were married in Connecticut.

8.05 pm. Thomas Kaplan reports:

#gaymarriage amendment w/ religious protections passes Assembly 82-47, paving way for Senate vote.

7.49pm. Nick Reisman gets more specific:

All signs point to a relatively early vote. There’s a sense the Senate Republicans want to quickly move through the vote and many “no” votes won’t be making lengthy statements. One Democratic lawmaker says the marriage vote won’t come until 9 at the earliest, with a final vote at around 11. However, Sen. Mark Grisanti, who is believed to be on the fence, has said he plans to explain his vote. And expect the always outspoke Sen. Ruben Diaz, a Bronx Democrat and Pentecostal minister, to rail against the measure.

7 pm. The latest from Rev. Heath:

6:37pm – The gallery lines have been closed. Which is to say the galleries are full.
6:43pm – NY Senate twitter feed says “quite a while” before vote.
6:50pm – Senate will be in and out of Rules multiple times. There are other bills up before marriage.

City Hall News and Capital Tonight are tweeting updates. From the latter’s blog:

The gay marriage moment is not going to happen until the bitter end. That means the SUNY 2020 and big ugly bills have to go through committees and get onto the floor for debate and votes. After their marathon closed-door conference today, the Senate Republicans aren’t likely to be in a debating mood, particularly when it comes to the controversial gay marriage issue. The Senate Democrats, on the other hand, haven’t been cooling their heels for most of the day and might have a lot to say.

So you might want to settle in make some snacks and brew some coffee or pour yourself a drink.