For those of you outside of New York State - here's a not-so-quick update on why I am considering putting my head under a pillow and crying quietly until it's all over.
- in 2008, NY Democratic Governor Eliot Spitzer steps down after being indicted for utilizing the services of an exclusive and high-end prostitution service. Assistant Governor David Patterson ascends to role of Governor, becoming NY's first African American and visually impaired (legally blind) Governor
Long-time NY State Senate leader and anti-same-sex marriage Republican senator Joe Bruno steps down from the positions of Senate Majority Leader and "temporary president of the senate", but remains a State Senator until resigning in July 2008. In January, 2009, Bruno is indicted on eight counts of corruption, including mail and wire fraud.
- in 2008, New Yorkers elect a Democratic-led senate, breaking a 40-year regime of Republican rule
- from the beginning, trouble brews with the 'gang of three' (or 'four' - depending on which day you checked or which senator was under arrest or investigation) Democratic senators that holds the Democratic leadership hostage unless they a) are given positions of power and b) agree not to bring same sex marriage up in the session.
- Democrats move ahead and continue to employ the same shameful and secretive budget and decision making processes that made the Republicans infamous - punishing the Republicans
- Governor Paterson pushes for a same sex marriage equality bill to be introduced. It passes the state Assembly but Senate Majority Leader Malcolm Smith refuses to bring to the floor until he is sure it has the votes to pass.
- Gang of Three members become much more well known.
- Hiram Monserrate is under investigation for slashing his girlfriend in the face and then dragging her and beating her - which he claims was an "accident" despite being caught on security camera dragging his bleeding, screaming girlfriend out of the apartment.
- Pedro Espada, also known as the Bronx's "Teflon Pol" - stands accused of failing to file some 41 campaign reports since 2002, making it impossible to know how he raises, and spends, his campaign cash. The State Attorney General is also investigating whether Espada used a nonprofit he controls - Soundview Health Clinic - as a personal piggy bank for his campaigns. In 2005, six Soundview employees were convicted of misusing the clinic's taxpayer funds to aid campaigns for Espada and his son. Finally, , the Bronx district attorney is investigating allegations that Espada doesn't even live in his Bronx district, but instead beds down in another county entirely.
- Ruben Diaz, one of the most vociferous opponents of Malcolm Smith as Majority Leader - and seen by some as the most ready to flip to the Republican side. A vocal anti-gay conservative and evangelical minister, Diaz leads a protest on behalf of the Hispanic community against legalizing same sex marriage in New York.
Diaz becomes the opposition focal point of the same sex marriage debate - New Yorkers assume he will defect to the Republican side if the Gang of Three deal is broken.
- Vermont, New Hampshire, Iowa and Maine pass same-sex marriage legislation, joining Connecticut and Massachusetts. Washington DC passes a measure to recognize same sex marriages performed in other states.
- Same sex marriage bill sponsor Senator Tom Duane claims to have enough Democratic AND Republican signatures to pass bill; Malcolm Smith refuses to bring to floor.
(starting to sound interesting, right? well, hang on...)
- With just two weeks left in the session, two days ago, the Republican minority with the defection of Espada and Monserrate, retakes Republican control of the Senate through a procedural maneuver, leaving the Senate in chaos.
Breakaway senators claim to now have a bipartisan "coalition."
Same sex marriage opponents have a collective orgasm.
- Now, Gang of Three member and Democrat Pedro Espada is the Senate President in the newly Republican - led Senate.
And - as it turns out - Espada is the co-sponsor with Tom Duane on the same sex marriage bill. And he want to bring it to a vote before the session ends.
- Then news comes out that additional Democratic senators are ready to jump ship to the new coalition.
- Governor Paterson approaches Joe Bruno to gain his support (remember - anti same sex marriage Joe?) and to urge the Republican senators to support a same-sex marriage amendment.
- Bruno agrees (!?!??!!??!?) and publishes his supported statement, although he won't agree to calling senators one-on-one.
- Now - news breaks that bill sponsor Tom Duane has signaled he may join the coalition in order to get "the work of his lifetime" passed.
- And - OH THIS IS GOOD - little mister homophobe Ruben Diaz WAS NOT INVOLVED in the coup, apparently, and is now sticking with the Democrats in the minority with absolutely NO SAY SO as to whether a same sex marriage bill is introduced or not.
Ruben has been screwed, rode wet, hung out to dry AND - if there is a God - will shortly be on public view as he makes his walk of shame home from the encounter.
- And just today, the Governor has asked the Senate to reconvene to vote on just who the hell is in charge.
- And we're not done yet....
Jesus Christ on a biscuit, is anyone else tired? I know I am.
P.S. A disgruntled NY billionaire businessman helped orchestrate this entire coup from behind the scenes - forgot to mention that!
Stay tuned - this is only going to get better.