One of the facts about tonight’s debate over same-sex marriage that will be neglected in the adulatory coverage is the really extraordinary process that brought this innovation to the Empire State. New York law, for instance, requires bills to be published 72 hours before a vote. The public, however, did not see the full language of the bill voted on tonight for more than a few hours (and only if they were exceedingly diligent in looking for it). Normal rules of debate were waived, the session was extended, etc. These kinds of exceptions are allowed for, but only in instances of emergency. Governor Cuomo had no qualms about claiming, and many legislators were complicit in accepting, the argument that redefining marriage in New York was so pressing a priority that the public’s ability to weigh the proposals (not to mention the senators’ ability to do so) should have been short-circuited.
When Sen. Ruben Diaz tried to ask the Republican senator who had announced the new exemption language questions about that language, he refused even to yield for a question. (Perhaps he didn’t want to have to explain that wedding photographers, bed-and-breakfast owners, and the like with religious beliefs about marriage will be liable to discrimination complaints.) “By any means necessary” seems to be the preferred operating procedure for the marriage-equality movement. What remains to be seen now is whether the people of New York will look kindly on the legislators who ignored them, listening instead to the Hollywood stars and other glitterati who became lobbyists for this fashionable cause.