The historic victory for individual liberty in New York, as it became the sixth and largest state to legalize same-sex marriage, was only made possible by behind-the-scenes maneuvering between parties. By appealing to the common ground — and more specifically, libertarian instincts — of both Republicans and Democrats in New York, the state legislature was able to create a bipartisan coalition in favor of the expansion of liberty.
Unfortunately, whenever “bipartisan” legislation is passed in the U.S., it is usually the worst of both parties coming together to expand government power and control. The PATRIOT Act, the expansion of foreign wars, and the TARP bailouts are the most obvious examples. But, in the case of same-sex marriage in New York, the exact opposite was true.
As a recent piece for the New York Times points out, it was the invocation of “personal freedom” from Republican donors that got the GOP to rethink their traditional position on gay marriage. According to the article, wealthy Republican donors could afford to insulate senators from conservative backlash and “were inclined to see the issue as one of personal freedom, consistent with their more libertarian views.” These donors “cut six-figure checks to the lobbying campaign that eventually totaled more than $1 million.”