The New York governor's push for gay marriage tops this week's legislative charts. Earlier today, The New York Times reported Patterson's intention to unveil legislation in support of homosexual unions. According to the governor, pushing for this legislation is a natural progression. As per the Times, he said, “The timing was always right...It’s just who is willing to take that step. And I am.” Considering his grim approval ratings, the move may be viewed as a strategic shift aimed at appeasing leftist voters.
Going back mere months, Patterson was catching heat from the left for his U.S. Senate pick. He selected Kirsten Gillibrand to fill former Sen. Hillary Clinton's seat, a move that was deemed unpopular by some liberals who viewed some of Gillibrand's more conservative stances unfavorably. Now, when the governor needs all of the political support he can get, he is taking on a tone that is undoubtedly more Democratically-pleasing.
Although he will surely gain support from the left, many New Yorkers on both sides of the aisle are disengaged with his policies following proposals for the “fat tax,” state levies on music downloads and other legislative gems.
Also, it's important to consider the impending effect the affirmation of his stance might have over his relationship with conservatives. According to the Times, “The governor also risks alienating socially conservative voters at a time when he can least afford to drive away any more support.”
Patterson's most recent actions might be construed as partisan, although one could also claim that his selection of Gillibrand, teamed with his support for gay marriage, provide an eclectic, somewhat moderate, take on a cornucopia of sociopolitical issues.
Either way, it is difficult to deny political motive in his timing, as he has had many months to make such a declaration, but has chosen to do so at the height of his unpopularity. Nonetheless, his announcement will be welcome news to gay marriage proponents both in-state and nation-wide who continue the fight for gay marriage.