|NY State Sen. Mark Grisanti, (R-Buffalo)|
BUFFALO, NY -- New York Republican State Senator Mark Grisanti, one of the four Republicans who voted for marriage equality, and who has been the target of ferocious opposition from the anti-gay group, the National Organisation for Marriage, (NOM,) won his GOP primary race Wednesday. NOM had earlier this year pledged $2 million to unseat every one of the four GOP state Senators.
Grisanti, a Buffalo Republican, had also been the subject of an internet political attack flyer this week that some political pundits and journalists had label "political porn," and that Buzzfeed political reporter Chris Geidner labeled; "...ugliest anti-gay mailer of the 2012 election."
Grisanti scored a comfortable victory - 60 to 40 percent - over his rival in the Republican primary challenged by Kevin T. Stocker, a Republican lawyer who accused Mr. Grisanti of breaking his word when he voted for the state same-sex marriage equality law.
The New York Times reported that Mr. Grisanti’s troubles are not over. He represents a district that is heavily Democratic, and Democrats see him as vulnerable in November: he attracted unflattering attention this year when he took part in a bar brawl in an American Indian casino in Niagara Falls.
“For people that know me, I stand by my beliefs and my convictions,” Mr. Grisanti told his supporters, adding, “There are so many issues that we have done in this year. And unfortunately, you know, my opponent focused on a few. But the people spoke.” The fate of the Senate Republicans is being closely watched nationally, because New York was the first state in which same-sex marriage became legal with the support of a Republican-controlled legislative chamber.
Gay-rights advocates say they believe they will need support from Republican legislators in other states to legalize same-sex marriage, and they have been concerned that if the New York senators were defeated, Republicans elsewhere would be more reluctant to take the electoral risk of voting to allow gay men and lesbians to wed.
Brian Ellner, an LGBTQ-rights advocate who helped lead the push to legalize same-sex marriage in New York, told the Times early Friday morning that it was too soon to draw conclusions.
“We’re thrilled with Senator Grisanti’s win, and remain optimistic and hopeful that Senators McDonald and Saland will prevail when all the votes are counted,” Mr. Ellner said. “These legislators, they followed their conscience, they did the right thing, and they’ve made New York a better place to live for all of us.”