NY is a heavy blue state. Even with 30 GOP members in the Senate, the GOP in the Northeast is often referred to as the Rockefeller Wing or the RINO wing. This does not apply to all, but many northeast GOP members are socially moderate or even liberal. Even with a straight party line vote, the Dems should have carried the day. Twas not the case. Gay marriage has had success when through the legislature or courts, never a referendum (0 for 31). One would think it's an easy sell. This is a smaller potatoes issue for a state like NY that is dealing with a revenue-budget crisis, banking fraud, and strains on social welfare program with the rising unemployment facing NYC. This should have been a simple party line vote with the Gov's signature and smile within the week.
What do those politicians have to fear? Does this really offend their base? If so, does that speak more about their voting blocs than it does their beliefs? One politician from the Bronx voted against gay marriage. Is he that fearful of being challenged by a GOP candidate in the next election? I doubt it. He might fear a left flank attack a la Joe Lieberman in Ct. This seems very strange. What is playing out here is a mini version of our current Congress. The Dems have the number to do what they want there, but they do not out of spinelessness (is that a word?). Show some backbone. Like the snowball rolling down the hill, it can start with a small roll. While I disagreed with many things Tom Delay and Trent Lott's Congress did, at least they had the spines and guts to get their men and women to toe the line and vote anything through.
The "politicians are weak" line is a bit tired. There might be something to the specific districts these folks represent. Maybe gay marriage is more of a "stuff white people like" topic? I'm for gay rights, as I have stated many times over, but maybe it's because I'm an overeducated white person. Not really, but this might be lower on the totem pole for many people. It might be lower on the totem pole for many incumbent politicians who fear the anti-incumbent wave sweeping the nation. This is a freezing element for many politicians as they fear anything can be used against them. Even safe district pols from the party that has promised civil rights to gays for decades.
***The above picture is the talented Scott Thompson who was the first gay person to register on my adolescent gaydar. He is hilarious, can play super butch straight, and is a Canadian. I still will sit and watch a Kids in the Hall (HBO era) episode because he will definitely make me laugh.