Gay Bucks Roll in to Support Pro-Gay Marriage N.Y. GOP Lawmakers
Gay rights activists from all over the country are lending financial support to Republican state senators who voted in favor of legalizing same-sex marriage in New York last summer, the New York Times reported in a Jan. 17 article.
The four GOP lawmakers went against their party’s usual beliefs and voted to legalize gay marriage. A number of gay rights activists see this as a pivotal moment in the gay rights movement as it shows that Republicans and conservative Democrats around the country may be coming around to same-sex marriage and are willing to vote to legalize it.
"It was essential to send a clear signal around the country that we will support those who support equality, irrespective of party," said Brian Ellner, a senior strategist for the Human Rights Campaign. "We were able to win marriage in New York with a bipartisan coalition of fair-minded elected officials. We need to replicate that if we are to keep winning."
The four senators as well as New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who strongly backed gay marriage, all saw a large increase in their fund-raising during the six months after the legalization of same-sex marriage. Alone, Cuomo raised $6 million from gay marriage supporters.
State Senator Roy J. McDonald, a Republican and Vietnam veteran, raised about $4470,000 -- 27 times more than he raised during the same time in 2009.
Senator Stephen M. Saland, a Republican lawyer, raised $425,000, while first-term Republican senator Mark Grisanti raised $325,000 during the six-month time period.
Michael McKeon, a liberal California insurance executive said he has never supported a GOP candidate but was deeply moved after hearing Grisanti’s speech about gay marriage on the Senate floor.
"His speech was absolutely compelling, moving," McKeon told the Times. "If Mr. Grisanti were running for president, I’d vote for him, even though he’s Republican."
McKeon, 48, met Grisanti and donated $200 to his campaign. After same-sex marriage was legalized in New York, McKeon and his partner returned to the state to tie the knot.
Senator James S. Alesi was the first Republican to support gay marriage and said in an interview that he raised $350,000 to $400,000 and that half of his new donations came from individuals that backed same-sex marriage.