All but one of the Democrats in the New York Senate were joined by 4 courageous Republicans in standing for equality. So obviously this legislation could not have passed without the help of moderate and even some fair-minded (real) conservative Republicans.
- One key example is that of Republican Senator Stephen Saland. Two years ago he voted against a similar bill but on Friday finally had a change of heart. He said that it was "a vote of conscience" and affirmed that he knew that he was now "doing the right thing".
- Fellow Republican Senator Mark Grisanti said that he could not, "...deny a person, a human being, a taxpayer...the same rights that I have with my wife."
Even though the New York Senate only provided 4 Republican votes, there was an extensive bipartisan coalition that helped bring about Friday night's result. Once again unions proved to be a critical ally to the LGBT community as they helped mobilize support for the effort. But credit also should be given to individual Republican donors/supporters and key corporations who also joined the coalition very early.
UPDATE 1: This is a must-read from the New York Times. It gives many of the behind-the-scenes details that brought about this victory for equality.
UPDATE 2: I'm clearly on the same page with Emily.