New York Gay Marriage: GOP Senators Who Supported Bill Rewarded With Big Donations

A crucial moment in the tense buildup to legalize same-sex marriage in New York came when a group of wealthy, conservative financiers pledged big donations to on-the-fence Republican state senators if they voted for the Marriage Equality Act.

Four such senators ended up providing the decisive votes in support of the historic measure, which Governor Cuomo signed into law on June 24th.

And those wealthy financiers, one of whom is Mayor Michael Bloomberg, haven't forgotten their promise.

The New York Times reports that a fundraiser planned for Thursday night in Manhattan is expected to raise about $1.25 million to help finance the re-election bids of Mark J. Grisanti of Buffalo, James S. Alesi of Rochester, Stephen M. Saland of Poughkeepsie and Roy J. McDonald of Saratoga County.

(You may remember McDonald as the senator who passionately defended his 'yea' vote against critics by saying "Fuck it, I don't care what you think.")

The financiers in attendance will include Mayor Bloomberg, the philanthropist and gay rights activist Tim Gill, hedge fund managers Paul E. Singer and Daniel S. Loeb, and several other top-tier donors.

The National Organization For Marriage, which opposes same-sex marriage, has paid for bilboards in each of the senator's districts vowing to unseat the lawmakers, who voted against the wishes of party leaders.

Most recently, after Bob Turner, a Republican, defeated David I. Weprin, a Democrat, in a New York City Congressional race, NOM paid for billboards warning the senators, “You’re Next.”

Thursday's event will provide the senators some serious cash to defend themselves primary challenges.