Faithful readers - I'll be out of action for the next couple of weeks, but keep an eye on this space. If all goes according to plan, we should have a lively guest blogger in place. In the meanwhile, if you didn't catch it, a fascinating behind-the-scenes look at how New York's recently approved gay marriage bill got through the legislature there in the New York Times this weekend.

There are some lessons to be drawn in Rhode Island, perhaps - the power of money and a united gay-marriage lobby among them. But there is much that separates New York, too: a popular governor, a Republican Party of some potency. Here's a little excerpt:

The story of how same-sex marriage became legal in New York is about shifting public sentiment and individual lawmakers moved by emotional appeals from gay couples who wish to be wed.

But, behind the scenes, it was really about a Republican Party reckoning with a profoundly changing power dynamic, where Wall Street donors and gay-rights advocates demonstrated more might and muscle than a Roman Catholic hierarchy and an ineffective opposition.

And it was about a Democratic governor, himself a Catholic, who used the force of his personality and relentlessly strategic mind to persuade conflicted lawmakers to take a historic leap.

“I can help you,” Mr. Cuomo assured them in dozens of telephone calls and meetings, at times pledging to deploy his record-high popularity across the state to protect them in their districts. “I am more of an asset than the vote will be a liability.”

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