When state Sen. John Flanagan cast his ‘No’ vote for gay marriage in June, it was the second time he’d done so since 2009. But this time, it wasn’t as easy, the politician said.
A lot of it had to do with support the measure had picked up during the recent legislative session.
“I would say that people overwhelmingly were gracious or sincere and yet they had very strongly held convictions on both sides,” Flanagan said in a phone interview, adding he received a total of 10,000 emails, phone calls or texts leading up to the vote.
On June 24, Flanagan was one of the 29 New York state Senators to vote against the same-sex marriage bill, which passed with 33 votes in support. In 2009, the measure was voted down, 38-24.
“I have always attempted to keep an open mind and be a very good listener and that’s how I try and operate … there were compelling stories that I’ve listened to, gut-wrenching stories about people who have sons or daughters or partners or friends or neighbors who think this is the right thing to do, so you balance all those things,” he said.
Another reason the decision was more difficult, according to Flanagan, was the push from Gov. Andrew Cuomo to support the bill.
“You had a much more active role being played by Gov. Cuomo,” he said. “Gov. Patterson had tried to do this but had not done so as effectively and I think the lobbying effort generally on this was vastly different in terms of what happened two years ago.”