New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg announced this week that he would back any Republican senator who agreed to support gay marriage (New York Times). In his visit to Albany on Tuesday, May 17, Bloomberg strongly encouraged New York state senators to get on “the right side of history” by voting yes on same-sex marriage.
In pushing for the move towards a progressive approach to marriage equality, Bloomberg appealed to the senators’ moral sensibilities, sense of history and self-interest in furthering their re-election campaigns. Putting his money where his mouth is, Bloomberg agreed to provide assistance to any Republican candidate who supported gay marriage – regardless of how they vote on any other issue. This marked a significant shift for Bloomberg who has not in the past built endorsements around a single issue.
In addition to voicing this political challenge, Bloomberg also spent time listening to the senators’ concerns and objections to legalizing same-sex marriage. It is not clear how much of an impact Bloomberg’s challenge will have, but several senators who are undecided on the issue indicated that they would consider endorsing a bill to legalize gay marriage in New York.