Late Friday night, New York became the sixth state (and the largest) to legalize same-sex marriage, and it couldn't have happened without the support of four Republican state senators who voted with 29 Democrats to approve the bill. It wasn't a certainty that the vote would even happen — but the state's GOP Senate majority eventually gave the green light for the vote to take place. That it did is a "disaster for the Republican Party," says National Organization for Marriage (NOM) president Brian Brown. Will the GOP pay a price for allowing such a big win on a traditionally Democratic issue?

Republicans will rue this vote: The GOP senators who "caved" will soon learn that "voting for gay marriage has consequences," says Maggie Gallagher at National Review. NOM is going to spend at least $2 million to defeat them, and New York's influential Conservative Party will not endorse them. But really, all New York Republicans "will pay a grave price" for even bringing the measure to a vote — they didn't have to, and Democrats would never have done the same on an issue the Left staunchly opposes.
"The GOP will pay a grave price"

These Republicans simply represented their constituents: "In defense of those four Republicans," and the party, they at least "respected the wishes of the majority of their constituents," says Susan Duclos at Wake Up America. This is New York, after all, "one of the most liberal states in existence with a very large gay and lesbian community." These lawmakers should be applauded for answering to the voters who elected them, rather than blindly adhering to party doctrine. And as a bonus, the GOP can enjoy watching gay-rights activists "hail the actions of a Republican-controlled Senate" while jeering President Obama's continued evasions on same-sex marriage.
"Republican controlled New York State Senate passes gay marriage bill"

Still, gay marriage is a loser for the GOP in 2012: Obama's "incoherent" position on gay marriage pales next to the mess the GOP just created, says Michelle Goldberg at The Daily Beast. "No other issue so divides the Republican Party's small-government wing from its Christian right foot soldiers," and the GOP's presidential crop can't decide whether to side with the libertarian-leaning GOP elites who tolerate gay marriage, or the socially conservative base that despises it. If Democrats are "clever," they'll turn gay marriage into next year's deliciously ironic "wedge issue."
"How to split the GOP"