To thank four Republican State Senators who agreed to vote for gay marriage, wealthy mover-and-shakers are holding a big fundraiser in Manhattan tonight "expected to raise about $1.25 million to help finance their re-election bids next year," according to the NY Times. One of the wealthy donors who promised to support the Republicans is Mayor Bloomberg, who already contributed $10,300 each to Mark Grisanti of Buffalo; Roy McDonald of Saratoga; James Alesi of Rochester and Stephen Saland of Poughkeepsie this summer.

Besides Bloomberg, the event's other hosts are "the philanthropist and gay rights activist Tim Gill; and several top-tier Republican donors, including the hedge fund managers Paul E. Singer and Daniel S. Loeb." The Times notes, "Invitations asked potential donors to contribute up to $16,800, the maximum total allowed, for each senator’s re-election effort... About $900,000 is expected to be spread among the four senators... which would amount to a windfall by Albany standards. In the first six months of this year, state senators raised an average of $103,000 apiece, according to the New York Public Interest Research Group."

Grisanti, McDonald, Alesi, and Saland will be fighting anti-gay-marriage pushes from the National Organization for Marriage, which has been placing billboards criticizing the politicians in their districts. NOM northeast coordinator Christopher Plante said, "What we have are the people and voters of New York, who expect more out of their politicians, and we expect that they will stand up. The people of New York will not forget what these senators did." Yeah, these senators made a step forward in civil rights.