It Was Same-Sex Marriage

What a day for politics!

Here’s your rundown of what happened:

- President Barack Obama declared his support for same-sex marriage. He had said his views were “evolving.” The whole country’s views have evolved, as polls show.

- State Senator Jim Alesi is not running for reelection. In what appeared to be a hastily made decision, he went on Capital Tonight and could barely choke out the words. The lawsuit he filed against constituents over his broken leg cost him voter support, but his same-sex marriage affirmation cost him party support. The GOP turned its back on Alesi with incredible speed.

Is it a coincidence Alesi stepped aside the day the president made a momentous announcement supporting same-sex marriage? Perhaps Alesi felt he did his part in advancing the cause. But I suspect being ostracized by the GOP played a far bigger role in his decision. He thought he could overcome the broken leg incident, but without party support he faced a tough road ahead. Alesi repeatedly mentioned party unity in interviews tonight about why he’s retiring.

He told 13WHAM back in November, “I have to run as a Republican because I have to be able to say you can vote for marriage equality as a Republican and you can survive.”

Alesi could not. Make no mistake, support for same-sex marriage is what did him in.

- Now the shuffle begins. Republicans will run Assemblyman Sean Hanna and Democrats will run Monroe County Legislator Ted O’Brien for Alesi’s seat. Republicans Bill Nojay and Avon Mayor Richard Burke want to run for Hanna’s seat. No word on whom the Democrats will put up.

Update: I heard from a Republican close to Alesi who said it was the lawsuit, not same-sex marriage that prompted the decision. I’m not sure I agree, but that’s the feeling within the party.

Update II: The Daily News reports Alesi said same-sex marriage was his downfall. Meanwhile, Gannett reports Alesi blames the lawsuit.

22 comments on this post.
  1. Mike:

    I agree with this assessment. I was a supporter until he chose to vote for same sex marriage. In my humble opinion, regardless of you views, this issue should have been put to a referendum, not decided in the legislature. Then it would have been the population speaking, not elected officials.

  2. Reggie Henderson:

    Before the civil war, slavery was accepted by many, and the book of Philemon in the bible supported it. But now no one would argue that Christians should follow the biblical example and return a slave to its master. Racism is now taboo, and inter-racial marriage is accepted. As history unfolds and anti-homosexual bigotry becomes unacceptable, will the Republican party survive? Actually I think it will, people separate this issues and there are a surprising number of homosexual (log cabin) Republicans.

  3. jeanne:

    I was outraged at his audacity. He trespassed and should have been charged. Instead his constituents did not file charges and what does he do? He sues them. Personally, I feel he only gave up that lawsuit because of the intense backlash. Similarly, I feel he voted for same sex marriage to try to curry favor. Now he makes it seem like that vote has cost him an election. HE has cost himself that election

  4. Gay Marriage Claims Another Republican | Roc25:

    [...] Barnhart thinks that part of the reason State Senator Jim Alesi isn’t running for office is his support of gay marriage:In what appeared to be a hastily made decision, he went on Capital Tonight and could barely choke [...]

  5. Peking Humonculous:

    Make no mistake- many Republicans support same sex marriage, including myself. It is the loudmouth social conservatives who act like they are speaking for the whole party. Most fiscal conservatives have no problem with who marries who because, like many things, we don’t think it’s any of the federal govt’s business. As far as Obama, if he really had any guts he would have come out and said he supported these marriage rights before it was politically convenient for him.

  6. Reggie Henderson:

    I agree that loud mouth social conservatives shouldn’t dominate the Republican party. It’s better to have a soft-spoken social conservative gently let homosexuals know their place. That’s why the Republicans picked Romney instead of Santorum. This isn’t really an issue to pick a president over. Freedom and government intrusion into personal lives is such a fine line. Just let this one go, I’m not gay, so why should I care. And there’s even gay Republicans who understand their place. http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/romney-reaffirms-opposition-to-gay-marriage-calls-issue-a-very-tender-and-sensitive-topic/2012/05/09/gIQAClKPEU_story.html

  7. Mark Adair:

    I call BS… Same-sex marriage did not prove to be his undoing…

    This is New York – and while Upstate NY is more conservative than NYC, we still ain’t Mississippi…

    Jim Alesi is a disgraceful example of a man.

    He was trespassing on someone else’s property. He found the front door locked and went to the basement to get in. Seeing no staircase, he tried to climb up a ladder, fell and broke his leg.

    He then thanks the homeowners and the contractor for not pressing charges against him for trespassing.

    Alesi then waits 3 years until the statute of limitations on a trespassing charge runs out and – on the SAME DAY – files civil lawsuits against the homeowners and the contractor.

    This ALONE would have gotten him swamped in the next election and he damn-well knows it…

    Most people I know (some extremely conservative) really don’t consider same-sex marriage to be an issue at all – and if it is an issue, it’s a relatively minor one to them…

    Suing your own constituents when you were improperly trespassing on their property – strangely on the SAME DAY as the statute of limitations runs out on your own illegal behavior…

    …now THAT was the reason he got no support from anyone and was forced to “retire”…

  8. Mark Adair:

    Oh… wait… I was wrong…

    He NEVER thanked the homeowners for not pressing charges for his trespassing on their property…

    My bad…

  9. Peking Humonculous:

    I’m sorry, Reggie, I’m not following you. Are you saying ALL Republicans oppose gay marriage but some are just quieter about it? If so, I strongly disagree. Also, I never stated this was an issue to pick a president over. Although it definitely does factor in, obviously.

  10. Reggie Henderson:

    Peking… I’m saying that ALL Republican POLITICIANS will vote against gay marriage, and some will be quieter about their social conservatism so I guess they are not “loudmouth social conservatives”, but the effect is the same. There are no individuals in politics anymore, and a vote for a Republican supports anti-gay-marriage legislation, as well as anti-contraception legislation. I know that there are Republicans that are not social conservatives, but the human rights, individual freedom issues take a back-burner for them to the more important goal of not raising taxes on people making over $1,000,000 per year ( i personally benefitted more when Obama cut the payroll tax than I did when Bush lowered the tax rate on people who make more than the payroll tax maximum income of $110,000), …AND… the Republican politicians desire to have the US be more forceful in international relations by invading countries like Syria and Iran (McCain is constantly harping on this).

  11. Peking Humonculous:

    Ah, gotcha. Well, I do see your point but can’t say I totally agree. Not all Republicans are against higher taxes for the wealthy. Including me. And as far as foreign policy goes I think Bush, Rumsfeld, Cheney, and Wolfowitz should all be on trial for starting an illegal and immoral war in Iraq. But Republicans alone are not to blame for this nation’s foreign policy blunders. Just as Republicans, alone, are not to blame for voting a certain way just to stay in office.

    Which leads me to ask, do you think it is fair that only about half of the people in this country pay income tax? That isn’t rhetorical for the sake of proving a point, I’m seriously asking you what you think about that.

    And what are your feelings about the war in Afghanistan? Do you support the president’s position?

  12. Reggie Henderson:

    Peking… I’m wondering why you would vote Republican. There are a lot of different taxes. Property tax is flat, you pay percentatge based on your property (and landlords include that in their rental rates, so renters also pay it). Sales tax is flat. The social security tax is regressive, everyone pays it on their first 110,000 and you don’t pay it all after that. Investment income is taxed a much lower rate than income tax, Republicans like Newt Gingrich say it should be zero, I guess Romney’s fine with paying 15%, I know I pay a higher rate than that on my income that I work for. I really find it backwards that the income you work for is taxed higher than the income you make off of other peoples work. I guess Republicans feel that if the wealthiest people have to pay the same taxes as the working people, they will give up on investing money just spend down their capital and go broke (I don’t think that would happen). So… after all the other taxes, there’s income tax, it’s a pretty pathetic place we’re in where so many people’s income is so low that they don’t pay income taxes. The divide between the richest and the rest of us is getting bigger and bigger, and I feel the Republicans steadfast battle against higher taxes on the wealthiest will increase that difference, add in their desire to go to war in foreign countries, and I think they are leading us to a feudal society.

  13. Reggie Henderson:

    Peking… Afghanistan… definitely a different situation than Iraq, Iran and Syria. I was in favor of invading Afghanistan, I do see the need to manage the withdrawal carefully. The full-scale invasion method of going after terrorism will hopefully benefit the Afghans in the long run, but our national deficit and the recession were a big price to pay. I think more targeted attacks on particular terrorists might be a better way to go in the future.

  14. Peking Humonculous:

    Well, I’m glad you asked (even though you really didn’t- hahaha.) The main reason I’m a registered Republican is because I believe our Federal government is, at best, utterly disfunctional and ineffective, and, at worst, too corrupt to serve the citizens of this nation. I don’t think either party has the corner of the market on corruption- they are both horrible. I am apalled at our federal government’s complete mishandling of several tragedies in this nation’s recent history- inability to prevent 9/11, FEMA’s handling of the aftermath of hurricane Katrina, the federal government’s decision to bail out the banking industry AND guarantee that employees of that industry STILL received huge bonuses that year, the British Petroleum oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico (a result of the federal regulatory agency NOT doing its job), and, last but certainly not least, an illegal, immoral war in Iraq that has cost too many lives for me to even Be able to comprehend.

    This same government wants to manage health care for this country? I don’t think so.

    Politicans on both sides of the aisle look out for their cronies and themselves and the interests of the American people ALWAYS come last, despite the fact that they are there to serve us and WE pay their paychecks. Elections have become almost meaningless when you take into consideration that, no matter who you vote for, politicians, lobbyists and special interest groups will ALWAYS come before American citizens. Heck, the Supreme Court went ahead and even made that official recently.

    You may wonder, if I believe both Republicans and Democrats are at fault, why pick a side? Well, because at least the Republicans believe in a smaller federal government. And maybe some day the party’s actions, after enough REAL Republicans get it straightened out, will reflect that belief.

    The one thing that just confuses the heck out of me about Liberals is- surely the attentive ones see the same corruption going on that I do- why, then, do they advocate for MORE Federal government, and not less?

    Sorry for the long answer, but believe me- that was just a brief explanation. Bottom line- I don’t believe this federal government, for the most part, serves its citizens anymore. It is the other way around. Therefore, I want less of it.

  15. Reggie Henderson:

    Peking… the Republicans slogan that they want smaller government is an Orwellian mantra that is the opposite of the truth. The biggest part of the budget is the military and they consistently want to expand military obligations, and thus the size of the military. Federal regulators can’t do their job if you don’t want them to be there in the first place. And you do understand that it was a split decision 5 conservatives for, 4 liberals against, unlimited anonymous corporate spending on elections, don’t you?

  16. Peking Humonculous:

    The Regulatory agencies are even more corrupt than the govt they serve under. And it doesn’t differ from administration to administration and it makes no matter which party is in power. What good did these agencies do in preventing the financial collapse, the BP oil spill, the auto industry bailout, the housing crisis…? It wasn’t because their hands were tied, it was because their employees were far too busy partying with lobbyists to do their jobs- the jobs the American people pay them to do. That is just some of the overwhelming corruption in the federal govt I am talking about.

    As far as military spending you are absolutely correct- it needs to be lowered drastically. Of course the “Republicans” in power support more spending- they are part of the problem. Just as the “Republicans” who try to cram their religious beliefs down everyone else’s throats are also part of the problem. Republicans in power today do not even closely resemble the likes of Abraham Lincoln and Ulysses S Grant and Theodore Roosevelt. And I would sooner vote for Bozo the Clown than I would for Gingrich or Palin or McCain or Boehner or any of those other idiots. Santorum? Ugh.

    When some of today’s Republicans in power call for smaller govt. it can ring hollow, true. But that doesn’t mean that the original spirit of the party is dead or that the Americans who align themselves with that party no longer believe in its purpose.

    When I discuss issues like these with non-Republicans I often find myself on the receiving end of some hostility but you have been very polite and are definitely very well-informed. So thank you for having this conversation.

  17. Reggie Henderson:

    Peking, I enjoyed the conversation too. I think President Clinton probably best pursued your goals of smaller government. If President Obama hadn’t had to keep us out of a great depression, things would be different, and he is reducing our overseas military obligations. If Republicans had won the Presidency in 2008, we would certainly be in Iraq, Iran and Syria.

  18. Peking Humonculous:

    Honestly, I think I would have preferred that the country went through a depression rather than the financial bailout. At least that way something would have been learned, something would have had to change. Now we’re back to the same way of doing things and hardly anyone was prosecuted or even scolded. I am being somewhat hyperbolic, but not totally. Sometimes change needs to be painful. And despite all of the greed and irresponsibility and illegality that went on, nothing seems very different to me today. We’re back to the same way of doing things with no safeguards to stop it from happening again. And the greedy get to keep on being greedy.

    Yes- the crypt keeper and Barbie Moosehunter were banging the war drums during their campaign. One of many reasons I wouldn’t vote for them. This country needs to get its own house in order and stop trying to control the world.

    Thanks, Reggie, take care.

  19. Reggie Henderson:

    Peking… please friend me on facebook!

  20. Peking Humonculous:

    Thanks- I’ll look you up. In the meantime here’s a great Rolling Stone article about the failures of our government before and after the BP oil spill and how the regulatory agency involved shares the blame:

    http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/the-spill-the-scandal-and-the-president-20100608

  21. david:

    You do not understand christianity or Philemon. Philemon is an awesome book, and even as a non christian I’m pretty peeved to hear someone trash it out of ignorance. If you want to learn about the book I’d love to explain it to you sometime.

  22. Reggie Henderson:

    Sorry David, I misspoke (mis-wrote?). For someone to use the book of Philemon as a biblical example indicating that Harriet Tubman was a sinner because she helped slaves escape rather than returning them to their masters as loving brothers would not have been right nor God’s will nor supported by the book of Philemon. As a Christian I have spent a lot of time in church and heard some of Paul’s teaching misconstrued as precise instruction and law creating examples to follow. So I’ve observed a tendency for Christians to look for laws where there are none in the New Testament and not rely on treating our brothers and sisters with love. It is interesting how an outsiders take on a Christianity can provide fresh insigh and I’m glad that you’ve enjoyed studying the Bible even thought it didn’t convince you to follow Christ.

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