The passage of the bill in New York State was no guarantee. It had failed just a little over a year ago in the New York State Senate.
In 2011, the State Senate was controlled by Republicans, the party that's more against legalizing gay marriage than Democrats. Plus, several Democrats in the Senate also opposed gay marriage back in 2009.
So what pushed the State Senate over the edge in 2011? Governor Andrew Cuomo was a big factor. And so were the Republican Wall Street donors he recruited, according to NYTimes.
In politics, which way lawmakers vote has a lot to do with how it affects their re-election chances. Money, in many cases, is what tips the balance in political contests.
Many Republicans were reluctant to vote for gay marriage because they didn't want to anger their Republican donors. They especially didn't want to be the last Republican who gave the bill enough votes to pass.
One such on-the-fence Republican was James S. Alesi of Rochester. Knowing this, rich Republican donors invited him to a meeting on Park Avenue and promised to eagerly support him if he backed same sex marriage, reported NYTimes.
In addition to assuaging uneasy lawmakers, the Wall Street financiers also collectively donated at least $1 million in the last few weeks to pro-gay marriage lobbying campaigns.
The rich pro-gay marriage Republican donors included Paul Singer, Cliff Asness and Daniel Loeb. All three of them are in the hedge fund industry. Singer is a billionaire. NYTimes previously reported that Steven A. Cohen, another hedge fund billionaire, also threw money towards the gay marriage cause.
Singer, Asness, and Loeb were recruited a secret meeting with two of Cuomo's most trusted advisors a few weeks ago, reported NYTimes.