Omnibus Bill Caps Limits On Same Sex Marriage, And Still The Rent's Too Damn High
Special to The Community Alliance Blog, via Al Jezeera
June 27 -- Albany, New York -- Weekend revelers, concluding their celebration of Pride Week, together with the long-awaited passage of New York's Marriage Equality Act, awoke this morning, bleary-eyed and dismayed.
Same Sex Marriage in New York, while not quite dead, has been dealt a serious blow.
"It seems that, in the New York State Legislature's haste to bring the Same Sex Marriage bill to the floor," said Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, "someone in bill drafting co-opted the language from other last-minute legislation, including the 2% Property Tax Cap and NYC Rent Control bills, essentially limiting severely Gay marriage in this State."
Silver, who announced during this weekend's Gay Pride Parade that he was a closet transvestite, and would hereafter only go by the name, "Shelly," said that as the Legislature now stands adjourned for the session, there is little that could be done to rectify the situation.
What had been called, both by political insiders and the media, "the big ugly," the Omnibus legislation -- which included the highly charged and extremely controversial measures on Same Sex Marriage, the Property Tax Cap, and Rent Control -- got caught in the hopper, with no one (not even Governor Andrew Cuomo, who signed the legislation into law just hours after it was passed by the State Senate) noticing the mix-up in the language.
"In essence," said Mr. Cuomo, appearing jovial despite the apparent setback, "the language of the legislation, as adopted and now the law of this State, caps the number of Gay couples that can marry in any of New York's 697 school districts at 2% per year. Period."
"The good news," Cuomo continued, "is that Gay couples, once married, will enjoy the benefit of affordable rent contolled living for the next three years!"
Reached for comment at his office in the Legislative Office Building, NYS Senator Dean Skelos, the Majority Leader who many say was responsible for bringing the measures to the Senate floor for a vote, demonstrated a restrained exuberance in his tone.
"Yes," said Skelos. "I noticed the language in the Omnibus legislation before it came to a vote. But who am I to stand in the way of progress?"
Given the modus operandi of dysfunction in the State Legislature, the linguistic blunders were not picked up, let alone addressed, by other legislators prior to the votes, and barely noticed thereafter.
"There was great concern over the language in the legislation," Skelos continued. "Guess this clears it up for most of us on the Republican side of the aisle." [It is noted that the Long Island delegation, while voting in favor of amendments to the language of the bill, voted "no" in its entirety, on the main body of the legislation.]
Representatives of the Cathotlic church, which vigorously opposed the Marriage Equality Act, appeared enraptured by the mix up in Albany.
Archbishop Timothy Dolan, speaking from the pulpit at St. Patrick's during morning Mass, called the Albany Snafu, "one of God's many mysterious and wonderous ways."
"We were concerned," Dolan countenanced, "about Man-Dates, and the impact upon religious institutions as well as the sanctity of marriage itself. The church, and Altar Boys everywhere, are most pleased with this unexpected but divinely propitious outcome."
Under the language of the law, as adopted, the Mandate provisions of the property tax cap legislation were rolled into the Marriage Equality Act so that, effective in August of this year, all New York State Man-Dates -- as well as Women-Dates -- shall be unfunded.
"They can marry, in small numbers," said an ecstatic opponent to Gay marriage, attending a prayer vigil inside the now vacant Senate gallery, "but they won't get a dime from New York!"
"Okay, but we still have rent control, right?", shouted a Gay rights activist from below.
"True," replied the voice from the Peanut Gallery, "but you're gonna pay higher tuition at SUNY and CUNY!"
Asked if the State Senate would return to Albany this year to mend the error of its ways, Senator Skelos, boarding a hot air balloon bound for his hometown of Rockville Centre, New York, exclaimed: "We can't come back. We don't know how to work this thing. Goodbye folks!"
And so, another remarkable year of business as unusual drew to a close in Albany, New Yorkers once again safe from the whimsical fancies and off-the-wall oddities of their State Legislators.
As for Gay Marriage, the property tax cap, and controlling the rent that's too damn high? In New York, where anything and everything -- by way of Omnibus legislation -- is possible, it's the law of the land!