‘Staten Island Fairy’??

Jon Stewart upped the pressure still further last night on “undecided” same-sex marriage voter Sen. Andrew Lanza, a Staten Island Republican.

“This could take a while,” Stewart said. “Staten Island Republican, eh? I guess gay marriage rests on whether this guy is willing to be called the Staten Island fairy for the rest of his life. But you know what? It’s good news. Moving in the right direction.”

Here And Now

The Assembly passed a bill legalizing same-sex marriage for the fourth time last night. The vote was closer than in years past – 80 to 63 – in part due to the four vacant seats in the Democratic conference and increases on the GOP side of the aisle.

“We are on the verge of a pinnacle moment for this state,” Gov. Andrew Cuomo said in a statement after the Assembly vote.

The Senate Republicans are scheduled to return behind closed doors at 10 a.m. to pick up where they left off yesterday in their own gay marriage debate.

Meanwhile, the rent laws have been expired now for just over seven hour. The Assembly passed the 48-hour extension bill last night, but it failed in the Senate.

That’s thanks in large part to the Democrats, who refused to vote “yes”, insisting an extension will give the GOP an out and fail to produce the stronger laws they’re seeking. So, it’s back to the drawing board on that one. The governor issued lawmakers an ultimatum: Get a deal on the rent laws, or don’t go home.

More headlines:

The gay marriage bill is at the center of “furious horse trading” at the Capitol, with everything from SUNY tuition to the rent laws to the tax cap in play.

Cuomo spokesman Josh Vlasto said no further changes are being considered to the governor’s program bill.

Jon Stewart got into the gay marriage mix by highlighting Staten Island Sen. Andrew Lanza, who is considered a potential key vote.

Senators who oppose same-sex marriage are reportedly split over whether it should come to the floor – if only to put this whole issue behind them in a non-election year.

First Girlfriend Sandra Lee’s brother is gay.

Sen. Jim Alesi is taking a political gamble with his “yes” vote.

“If I take the Catholic out of me, which is hard to do, then absolutely they should have these rights,” said Sen. Mark Grisanti, who is still in the “undecided” column.

So far, the Times is giving legislators an “F for diligence.”

The National Enquirer splashed photos of Rep. Anthony Weiner in drag on its cover. The shots date back to his sophomore year at SUNY Plattsburgh.

More >

Rent Laws Extension Voted Down In Senate

The Republican-led Senate voted down an extension of rent-control laws for New York City late tonight by a wide margin, 43-14.

Though several lawmakers on both sides of the aisle were not present, the lopsided vote shows neither party had much interest in Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s emergency extension measure which was approved by the Assembly earlier this evening.

The measure would have extended the laws into Friday at 3 p.m.

Even though rent control for the city and some suburban areas expires at midnight, Cuomo released a statement saying the impact of a few days without extensions would be minimal. Rent laws have expired and left hanging for several days only to be taken up again.

But at the same time, Cuomo has said he would keep the Legislature in Albany in order to get his preferred expansion of the laws approved. The session is scheduled to end Monday, however there’s been some talk among rank-and-file legislators about staying into Tuesday or even Wednesday.

With so much happening this week — trying to lock down a same-sex marriage vote in the Senate — and having tied rent control to a contentious property tax cap, these issues may not be resolved by the end of this week.

Assembly Passes Marriage But, But Tally Is Low

The Assembly passed Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s same-sex marriage this evening, 80-63, the lowest margin in the four years it’s been put to a vote in the Democratic-led chamber.

Republicans had predicted earlier today that a vote could have been in jeopardy, or least not a landslide, thanks to 10 GOP gains in 2010. At the same time, several Democratic lawmakers had joined the Cuomo administration leaving multiple vacancies.

The bill now moves to the state Senate, where it’s passage is far from certain. There are thirty-one votes in favor of the bill now that two Republicans have said they would back the measure. Several GOP lawmakers are on the fence publicly and have said broader religious exemptions are needed.

The very lengthy debate in the Assembly began around 5 p.m. this afternoon and concluded after 9 p.m.

The debate featured openly gay Assemblyman Matthew Titone of Staten Island saying he wants to get married as soon as possible, but needs to save up the money first. Sitting next to him was Sen. Diane Savino, who became an Internet star after delivering an impassioned speech in favor of the bill.

“Look to the future and protect your legacy as a human being,” he said.

Republicans and some Democrats, however, argued that the bill would redefine the traditional view of marriage.

Noting that pop star Lady Gaga supported same-sex marriage, Assemblyman Dov Hikind said sarcastically, “When Lady Gaga got involved and told us and said we should support gay marriage, I said, you know, Lady Gaga, she is an example of how I should lead my life and how I should behave.”

New Yorkers United for Marriage, the coalition of advocacy groups pushing the measure, released a statement on the vote saying,

“New Yorkers United for Marriage applauds Speaker Silver, Assemblymember O’Donnell and their colleagues for once again affirming that all New Yorkers should be able to marry the person they love. We are heartened and gratified by the Assembly’s unwavering commitment to marriage equality and will never forget their leadership on this important issue. We call on the Senate to allow a vote on marriage so that we can make history in the Empire State.”

Cuomo Admin: Ball Wrong On Gay-Marriage Bill

Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s spokesman Josh Vlasto sent over a statement this evening responding to Sen. Greg Ball saying he would vote against the current same-sex marriage bill as it’s written, saying that he mischaracterizes the measure.

“Senator Ball can decide to vote with the conservatives against the bill but his characterization and description of the bill is just plain wrong. Senator Ball is entitled to his own politics but not his own facts.”

Ball told me earlier today that, ā€œIā€™m not going to vote for something that shutsdown Catholic adoption agencies, or open religious organizations to being sued.ā€

Ball says the bill does not sufficiently provide protections for religious institutions and individuals, as well as businesses. His concerns seem to conflict with laws already on the books for human rights violations, making such language he would appear to want unconstitutional.

Ball said on Tuesday — the day the bill was introduced by Cuomo — that he wanted to see stronger exemptions, but would take the bill back to members of the religious community.

Rent Laws To Be Extended Until Friday At 3

The Republican-led Senate is poised to approve a measure that would extend rent control and current rent laws for New York City through 3 p.m. Friday. The Assembly is also expected to take up the bill.

The bill can be read here.

The move came after Gov. Andrew Cuomo introduced the measure in the Assembly and Senate with a message of necessity in order to avoid the three-day waiting period.

The 3 p.m. deadline is friendly to Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, who observes the Jewish sabbath at sundown on Friday.

The measure is sure to hotly debated this evening by Senate Democrats who oppose the measure. While it sailed through the Senate Rules Committee with hardly a peep from Democrats, Sen. Ruth Hassell-Thompson, who represents parts of The Bronx and Mount Vernon, foreshadowed a lengthy debate.

When aske by Sen. Tom Libous if there were any questions, she responded: “Yeah, about a hundred – but I won’t ask them.”

Cuomo has vowed to keep legislators in Albany until his desired rent control — which would be an expansion of the current laws — is achieved.

Senate Republicans had introduced a variety of rent bills, which mostly kept the current laws in place.

Ball: As It Stands Now, I’m A No

Sen. Greg Ball, R-Putnam County, said in an interview today that he’d vote no on Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s same-sex marriage as it’s proposed.

“At this point, on this bill, I would absolutely vote no,” Ball said. “I’m not going to vote for something that shutsdown Catholic adoption agencies, or open religious organizations to being sued.”

This is a bit of a change from Tuesday, when Ball suggested the exemptions for religious institutions was “thorough” but he still had some concerns about the protections for businesses and individuals.

Ball, who has a hired videographer trailing him at the Capitol today, reiterated his concerns from a news release earlier in the day that he remains concerned about the impact of same-sex marriage on businesses and religious institutions.

“This is the perfect example of a social issue that’s controlled by the extreme left and the extreme right,” Ball said.


While all the talk at the Capitol was about same-sex marriage today, the Assembly passed GENDA for the fourth consecutive year.

The latest on Weinerwatch: Huma Abedin is home from Africa.

Former porn star Ginger Lee held a press conference to discuss her sextapades with Weiner.

Lee insists she received sexts, but didn’t send them.

Rudy Giuliani is urging Queens Councilman Eric Ulrich to run for Weiner’s seat.

Rep. Charlie Rangel sold the Dominican Republic condo that played a role in the ethics charge that led to his censure.

Congressional pets competed in a photo contest. Winner: A dog named “Liberty.”

Halle Berry hung out with Mayor Bloomberg.

Dick Grasso, who insists he wasn’t Wall Street royalty, is still seriously considering a run for NYC mayor in 2013.

Bloomberg delivered a speech on immigration reform at the Council on Foreign Relations.

State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli warned delinquent state agencies to start sending their checks on time.

Will a “yes” vote on same-sex marriage hurt Sen. David Carlucci’s standing with the Jews?

PEF will host a dozen “no layoffs” rallies across the state.


Baldwin vs. Baldwin in 2013?

Giuliani met today with Texas Gov. Rick Perry and NJ Gov. Chris Christie (separately).

Nick TV.

Cuomo: Session Won’t End Until ‘People’s Business’ Is Done

…and by “people’s business,” he appears to mean strengthening and extending the rent laws – although he doesn’t go into any specifics about what that means to him, bill-wise. And there are a LOT of bills out there.

The last I checked, I think there were no fewer than eight pieces of legislation that address 421-a alone.

Sen. Adriano Espaillat has been heading up the Senate Democrats’ push on the rent laws, which are set to expire at midnight tonight. He told us earlier today that the governor had pledged to keep the Legislature in Albany until there’s a deal on this issue.

It’s a big deal for downstate Democrats, which is why it’s now linked to the property tax cap – a big deal for suburban and upstate Republicans.

Here’s Cuomo’s statement:

“If the laws are not renewed, over the long term, there would be nothing less than a housing crisis in the State. Today’s expiration is generating anxiety among affected tenants and their advocates. This is compounded by the fact that the anticipated end of the Legislative session is next week.”

“My position has been clear. New York’s rent laws must be extended and strengthened.”

“However, New Yorkers should know the facts. There would be no short-term emergency. Current rent laws could be continued by short-term ‘extender’ legislation or even if the laws lapse for a short period of time, which they have in the past, there will not be a significant increase in rent levels or disruption in the availability of affordable housing.

“Make no mistake, to prevent a long term crisis, these laws must be renewed and strengthened.”

“There is a full agenda for both the Assembly and Senate to accomplish and the legislative session will not end, either through regular or special session, until the people’s business is done.”

Giant Debate Over Same-Sex Marriage (Updated)

NY Giants that is…

The Human Rights Campaign has been very good about cutting videos with celebrities supporting same-sex marriage, including future NFL Hall Of Famer Michael Strahan, who played his entire career with the NY Giants. And also current NY Giants owner Steve Tisch has come out in favor of passage.

Well now Giants Superbowl hero Wide Receiver David Tyree has taken up a position on the other side of the issue. He has recorded a sit down interview with the National Organization of Marriage (that unfortunately for me includes his miraculous catch against the New England Patriots – it still hurts to watch).

Tyree makes the argument that legalizing same-sex marriage will send a message that children don’t need a father and mother. He also talks a lot about the importance god has played in his life, and how that has shaped his view on the issue.

And Tyree also suggests that redefining marriage could lead to anarchy.

Update: A reader notes that David Tyree actually lives in New Jersey.