This statement just came in from Senator Malcolm Smith, whose path to the leadership of the state Senate now looks elusive at best. The senators he's referring to are, of course, Pedro Espada, Ruben Diaz, and Carl Kruger. The civil rights he is referring to are gay rights and specifically gay marriage, something vigorously opposed by Diaz.
"Today I am announcing that the Democratic Members of the Senate have elected to cease negotiations on reorganization matters with all three Senators as discussed both in private and in the press. We are suspending negotiations, effective immediately, because to do so otherwise would reduce our moral standing and the long-term Senate Democratic commitment to reform and to change. We believe that ultimately, we must do what is right for the people of the State of New York. Furthermore, real reform cannot and should not ever include limiting the civil rights of any New Yorkers. Those issues must be part of the legislative process.
The members of this Conference have come a long way to consider the demands placed on the table. But frankly, we would rather wait two more years to take charge of the Senate than to simply serve the interests of the few. New York State cannot afford the type of self-serving politics being proposed and I will not be the leader to sacrifice what is right for New York for a quick political solution."