Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Gay Marriage issue key in 105th NY District

Gay marriage issue key in 105th race
Candidates Amedore, Kosiur seeking Assembly seat differ on how they would vote on same- sex legislation

By PAUL NELSON, Staff writer
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First published: Wednesday, July 25, 2007

SCHENECTADY -- Both candidates for the 105th Assembly District say they are opposed to gay marriage, yet how they would vote on same-sex legislation could provide a deciding point for some voters in the special election next week.
George Amedore Jr., a Republican, said he is against same-sex unions. But Ed Kosiur, a Democrat, said he would put aside religious beliefs and vote in favor of same-sex legislation.

"I do not support same-sex marriage," said Amedore, who said he's been married for 17 years and has three children. His comments came during a meeting with the Times Union editorial board Tuesday. "I believe marriage should be between one man and one woman," he said.

Later, Amedore, 38, a GOP newcomer, said through a campaign spokesman that he supports health benefits for partners of gay and lesbian state employees but believes private companies should make the decision for themselves.

Proposed same-sex legislation has passed in the state Assembly but has not come up for discussion in the Senate. From the Capital Region, Assemblyman Ron Canestrari, D-Cohoes, and fellow Democrats Jack McEneny of Albany and Paul Tonko of Amsterdam voted for the measure, while Democrat Robert Reilly of Colonie, Republican Minority Leader James Tedisco of Schenectady and independent Tim Gordon of Bethlehem voted against it.

It's Tonko's seat, which represents most of Schenectady County and all of Montgomery County, the two men are vying to take. Tonko left the seat to take over as president and CEO of the state Energy and Research Development Authority.

The special election is Tuesday.

Tonko has been stumping for Kosiur, who is married with three children and said he would support the legislation.

"If it does come to a vote, I will vote that way because that's the way the majority of my constituents want me to vote," said the 51-year-old Democratic Schenectady County Legislator. "I have to vote according to the way my constituency feels."

Libby Post, who lives in Menands and is a nationally syndicated columnist on lesbian and gay issues, said Amedore is "not in tune with the electorate."

She lauded Kosiur for his stance.

"I think he generally wants to reflect the will of his constituency and that's laudable," Post said.

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