By Peter J. Smith

ALBANY, New York, June 8, 2009 ( – In a dramatic turn of events, key defections from the Democratic Party in New York have placed control of the state senate effectively back in Republican control, likely putting to an end the former Democratic leadership’s bid to legalize same-sex “marriage.”

Two Democratic state senators, Hiram Monserrate of Queens and Pedro Espada of the Bronx, voted with Republicans Monday afternoon to strip control of the Senate away from Majority Leader Malcolm Smith (D-Queens), who had been engaged in building a majority behind closed doors to legalize same-sex “marriage” before the end of the legislative session on June 22.

Around 3 p.m. Sen. Thomas Libous (R-Binghamton) shouted for a roll-call vote before the end of the day’s session demanding a leadership change in the Senate. Espada and Monserrate, both described by North Country Public Radio as “socially conservative” Democrats unhappy with Smith’s leadership, voted along with the GOP, making the margin 32-30.

Just after the final tally, the lights went out in the senate chambers and the in-house television went black. Five minutes later, the power was restored and revealed the deposed Democratic leadership in the Senate replaced by its new authorities.

The coup resulted in a power-sharing arrangement between the two Democrats and the GOP. Espada has now been elevated to President of the Senate, as reported by the Albany Times-Union. Usually, the Majority Leader takes control of the Senate as its president, but in the arrangement reached between Espada, Monserrate, and the GOP senate leadership, Espada will become president and GOP Majority Leader Sen. Dean Skelos of Long Island will take up duties as vice-president of the senate.

Espada stated that Smith’s leadership of the Senate had put the state into a “quagmire” and could no longer go on, and needed to be replaced by “reform-minded” Democrats. 

As all the leadership positions will be changed in the Senate, it makes it highly unlikely the same-sex “marriage” bill passed by the Assembly in May will come to a vote before the end of the June 22 legislative deadline, as the bill is not a priority for Republicans and a number of the more socially conservative Senate Democrats.

A recent Siena poll also showed that citizens of New York were deeply divided 46 – 46 percent on the issue of same-sex “marriage.”

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