I'm surprised at the margin, quite frankly - a definitive 38-24.
Unfortunately, this vote, coupled with the vote in Maine, means the issue will likely have to be further addressed by the (federal) courts because the political faction that supports gay marriage is not simply going to go quietly offstage (I've made it clear I'd much rather the issue be resolved with a majority of a state electorate than through the courts...but I presumed some bare minimum of more liberal states would actually approve of it legislatively or via referenda...and they still might at some point). But if states like Maine and New York will not approve marriage legislatively or voters overturn pro-gay marriage courts in referenda despite their political climates and demographics, then even federalism isn't working very well for the gay minority.
In my view, judicial activism started the gay marriage furor (various state supreme courts permitting it), electoral majorities stir up a backlash in the middle, and judicial activism will likely end it (federal courts will ultimately find a way to strike down laws against gay marriage down the road).
I'm surprised by the vote in New York, however, because I thought it was likely that the recession would have made voters and representatives care far less about issues like gay marriage...because economic issues would seemingly override these days. But I guess not:
Senator Tom Libous, the deputy Republican leader, said the public was gripped by economic anxiety and remained uneasy about changing the state’s definition of marriage.
“Certainly this is an emotional issue and an important issue for many New Yorkers,” said Mr. Libous, of Binghamton. “I just don’t think the majority care too much about it at this time because they’re out of work, they want to see the state reduce spending, and they are having a hard time making ends meet. And I don’t mean to sound callous, but that’s true.”
This logic or explanation perplexes me just a bit. If the majority doesn't "care too much," then why did a majority of legislators vote it down? I suppose it's a preference for the status quo in a time of uncertainty. Still, it's not like preventing gay people from getting married has anything to do with improving the lot of other people trying to make ends meet.