In a move of open communication and transparency (whether genuine of feigned), New York State Senator Greg Ball has asked his social media followers how they feel about the issue of marriage equality. Why has he asked them how they feel? Because his upcoming vote is critical to whether or not the legislation will ultimately be passed.
The legislation in question is the Marriage Equality Act, proposed last Tuesday by New York Governor Andrew Cuomo. The bill would give same-sex couples the right to a government-approved marriage, but would leave religious organizations the ability to define marriage as it sees fit.
This bill grants equal access to the government-created legal institution of civil marriage while leaving the religious institution of marriage to its own separate and fully autonomous sphere. The bill also guarantees that religious institutions and benevolent organizations such as the Knights of Columbus remain free to choose who may use their facilities for marriage ceremonies and celebrations or to whom they provide religious services, consistent with their religious principles.
Why is Greg Ball at the center of this legislation? Because he is one of the few Republican Senators left undecided about his vote. The New York State Senate has 62 member and is controlled by the GOP. Twenty-nine Democrats as well as 2 Republicans have pledged support for the Marriage Equality Act already. The Senate needs 32 yays to pass the bill. Ball could end up being the deciding vote.
And his vote was the topic of a particular tweet he sent out, asking his followers about the topic of gay marriage. Here's the tweet -
Opening up the discussion! So, if you were me, how would you vote on gay marriage? Yes or No?
As you would expect from Twitter, the responses have varied in eloquence. Here's a response that makes the argument from the conservative standpoint -
A quick search through the replies to his tweets show an overwhelming answer of "Yes" to the marriage equality bill. Out of the top 40 or so, I only counted one "NO" vote, the tweeter asking Ball to "grow some #GOP balls."
The Facebook response is a little more evenly split, but not much from what I can tell. In the most recent wall postings, I can only find a handful of people asking Senator ball to vote NO on the bill. And those people are being questioned heavily about their post in the comments.
Ball told Politico that calls and letters coming into his office are actually in favor of a NO vote 60 / 40.
And about why he asked his social media followers to weigh in on the decision - he said "I thought is was better than sending Weiner-like photos." Ouch, kick a man while he's down why don't ya? You'd think with the name "Ball," he would find some solidarity with Weiner, right?
There could be more selfish motivations for the Senator, however. One Facebook wall post asks "Hey, have you made up your mind yet? Or are you just waiting for some more attention?" Ball has gained thousands of Twitter followers and Facebook likes since posing the gay marriage question.
Would you like to see more politicians reach out on Twitter and Facebook - not simply be active posters but actually ask questions of their followers? Let us know what you think.