Saturday, September 03, 2011

David Weprin explains his same-sex marriage position what its worth 

In a conversation captured on video, a man recently asked David Weprin how, as an Orthodox Jew, he could vote to legalize same-sex marriage. (The man also raised hypothetical problems faced by "catering halls" that may have to comply with the new law.)

Weprin, who in the past had some trouble explaining his vote, offered a clearer explanation this time for voting the way he did.

Referring to the speech he gave on the floor of the Assembly, Weprin told the man, "I said I am an Orthodox Jew but I did not consider it a religious issue … Not that I was saying it was acceptable as an Orthodox Jew, acceptable under the Orthodox religion. What I was saying is it's a civil-rights issue and not a religious issue."

To the extent that discussion of same-sex marriage has come up in the special election to succeed Anthony Weiner, it has been driven by the notion that it's a losing proposition for Weprin among the district's Orthodox Jews. But that group's size and impact on the race isn't exactly clear.

You never know in a special election, of course. It has been noted that "GOP pollsters have estimated about 100,000 of the district's roughly 300,000 registered voters are Orthodox Jews."

But Jerry Skurnik, a political consultant with a particular expertise in demographic analysis, told me, "100,000 seems way, way too high. Most speculation is that the total Jewish vote is less than one-third [of the district's voters], so how can the Orthodox Jewish vote be one-third?"


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