The four Republican New York state senators who swung last June's historic vote to legalize gay marriage in the Empire State have survived to campaign another day.
After breaking with their party's leadership and enraging some constituents in their socially conservative upstate districts, their risk is being rewarded in the form of a campaign fundraising windfall of nearly $1 million, led by New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and several libertarian-leaning hedge fund managers.
From The New York Times:
"The mayor made it very clear early on that he would be a vocal supporter of those senators who stood up and did the right thing in light of a tough political climate," a Bloomberg spokesman, Mark Botnick, said.
About $900,000 is expected to be spread among the four senators—Mark J. Grisanti of Buffalo, James S. Alesi of Rochester, Stephen M. Saland of Poughkeepsie and Roy J. McDonald of Saratoga County—which would amount to a windfall by Albany standards. In the first six months of this year, state senators raised an average of $103,000 apiece, according to the New York Public Interest Research Group.
Mr. Alesi said he appreciated the support.
"The message has to go to Republicans that Republicans can vote for the right thing and live to tell about it," he said.
On the night New York legalized gay marriage, Reason.tv reported from the Stonewall Inn, birthplace of the modern gay rights movement: