Newly elected state Sen. David Storobin has a message for his gay constituents: you shouldn’t be allowed to marry each other.
Storobin (R–Brighton Beach) today introduced legislation to repeal New York’s law that allows same-sex couples to marry — a move slammed by critics who say the freshman is trying to curry favor with conservative voters.
Storobin, who was sworn into office 10 days ago, but whose district will become extinct in December thanks to redistricting, announced last week that he will be running for the state senate’s new so-called Super Jewish district, which is dominated by Orthodox Jews who tend to vote Republican — and are against same-sex marriage.
That didn’t stop gay-rights advocates from slamming the new state legislator.
“It’s surprising that he would want to start off his career on the wrong side of history — and to the right of [former Vice-President] Dick Cheney.” said Matthew McMorrow, the co-president of Lambda Independent Democrats of Brooklyn, the borough’s leading lesbian and gay rights advocacy group.
New York became the largest state to legalize same-sex marriage last year, when the majority-Republican state senate voted 33–29 in favor of it.
But Storobin — who beat Councilman Lew Fidler (D–Marine Park) in their closely watched race to replace prison-bound ex-pol Carl Kruger — said the state changed the definition of marriage when it allowed same-sex nuptials, and that goes against his and his constituents’s religions.
“The government has thrust upon the people of this state a definition of marriage that violates their religious and personal moral beliefs,” Storobin wrote in his bill, which calls marriage between a man and a woman “the bedrock of our civil society.”
Experts said the proposal is dead on arrival because it won’t pass the Republican-controlled senate and has no companion bill in the left-leaning assembly. Both chambers would have to pass the legislation, which would then have to be signed into law by Gov. Cuomo, a staunch supporter of same-sex marriage.
A fellow legislatures said Storobin’s law won’t make it to vote.
“We’re not moving backwards.” said state Sen. Eric Adams (D–Flatbush), one of eight borough senators who voted to legalize same-sex marriage.
But political analysts say that even if Storobin fails he will still earn political points with voters in his race for the Super Jewish district, which encompasses Midwood, Borough Park, and Kensington.
“His bill is entirely directed to the Orthodox community and more conservative voters,” said veteran politico Hank Sheinkopf. “For very religious voters it’ll show that he’s on their political wavelength.”
Storobin is squaring off against Democrat Simcha Felder, a former Borough Park councilman who left office to work fo Comptroller John Liu’s in 2010.
Storobin, the vice-president of the Kings County Republican Party, can’t seek reelection because the state approved new district lines earlier this year that divvied up Kruger’s old stomping grounds between two borough lawmakers and the new Borough Park seat.
The Soviet-born attorney beat Fidler by 13 votes in the closest election in Brooklyn’s history earlier this month.
Kruger resigned from the seat in December hours before pleading guilty to accepting $1 million in bribes from developers and lobbyists. His seven-year prison sentence is scheduled to start on June 26.
— with Eli Rosenberg