Add Assemblymember Alec Brook−Krasny to the growing list of legislators who are changing their minds on gay marriage.
While he abstained from voting in 2007, the Brighton Beach legislator voted in favor of the measure last week – separating himself from his southern Brooklyn colleagues, many of whom voted against the bill.
“For me, it’s strictly a vote for equality,” said Brook−Krasny. “All the [LGBT community] wants is the equal opportunity to obtain both the benefits and responsibilities that come with a legal marriage.”
Brook−Krasny said that his conservative Russian upbringing hampered his decision in 2007.
Yet his experiences as a Russian immigrant given the opportunities to be elected to higher office altered his perceptions on the bill over the last two years, he said.
“I’m not approving or disapproving anything,” he said. “This bill is about the rule of law and allowing everyone an equal playing field.”
The bill seeks to amend the domestic relations law, giving same−sex couples the legal right to wed. It also ensures that the bill “does not improperly intrude into matters of conscience or religious belief,” meaning that clergy and religious leaders would not be compelled to perform same−sex marriages if they don’t want to.
The bill ultimately passed the Assembly with a vote of 89 to 52. It first passed the Assembly in 2007 with a vote of 85 to 61, but was never brought up for a vote in the Senate.
While all of the downtown Brooklyn assemblymembers voted in favor of gay marriage, several southern Brooklyn legislators −− all Democrats −− balked at the bill.
Assemblymembers Peter Abbate of Dyker Heights, Inez Barron of East New York, Bill Colton of Bensonhurst, Steven Cymbrowitz of Sheepshead Bay, Dov Hikind of Borough Park and Nick Perry of East Flatbush voted against the bill, officials in Albany said.
Advocates for gay marriage hailed the passage of the bill, although this is the first step in a long process.
The newly Democratic−led Senate has yet to vote on the measure.