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Stephen M. Saland

Stephen M. Saland (born November 12, 1943) is an American attorney and politician. He was a Republican member of the New York State Senate, representing the 41st District from 1990-2012. His district included all of Columbia County and most of Dutchess County.

Saland lost his 2012 re-election bid to Democrat Terry Gipson in a very tight race decided by less than 2,500 votes.[1] Conservative Party challenger Neil DiCarlo, who made a campaign issue of Saland's vote in favor of same-sex marriage, received 17,000 votes and was regarded by many as the spoiler in the race.[2]



A native of Poughkeepsie, Saland earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University at Buffalo in 1965 and a Juris Doctor from Rutgers Law School in 1968.[3] He maintains a law practice in Poughkeepsie, where he is of counsel to Gellert & Klein, P.C.

Saland worked as a legislative aide to a New Jersey Assemblyman, and later as an executive assistant to New York Assemblyman Emeel S. Betros, who later became Saland's law partner.[3] He began his own career in public service as a town councilman in Wappinger.

In April 1980, Saland was elected to the New York State Assembly (99th D.), to fill the vacancy caused by the death Emeel S Betros.[4]

His first action as a state legislator was to introduce a bill requiring the state to reimburse school districts for interest debts they incurred from borrowing money because of New York's budget crisis.[5] He was elected several times, and remained in the Assembly until 1990, sitting in the 183rd, 184th, 185th, 186th, 187th and 188th New York State Legislatures.

He was a member of the New York State Senate (41st D.) from 1991 to 2012, sitting in the 189th, 190th, 191st, 192nd, 193rd, 194th, 195th, 196th, 197th, 198th and 199th New York State Legislatures.

Marriage voteEdit

Saland was the decisive vote on June 24, 2011 for New York's Marriage Equality Act, legalizing same-sex marriage in New York. He defined his vote as a matter of conscience during a stirring legal defense of an amendment exempting religious organizations from the law. "I have defined doing the right thing as treating all persons with equality ... And that equality includes the definition of marriage. I fear that to do otherwise would fly in the face of my upbringing", Saland stated.[6][7]

Saland announced that he would vote "yes" on June 24, 2011—the same day that the bill came to the Senate floor for a vote.[8]

Saland had previously voted "no" on same-sex marriage in December 2009.[9]

Personal lifeEdit

Saland resides in Poughkeepsie with his wife Linda; they have four sons and four grandchildren.

Saland is a direct relative of a former Ashkenazic Chief Rabbi of Jerusalem.[10]


  1. ^ Saland loses in election,; December 2012; accessed August 14, 2014.
  2. ^ Kriss, Erik. "Saland loses narrowly". New York Post. Retrieved August 14, 2014. 
  3. ^ a b "Senator Stephen M. Saland (NY)". Project Vote Smart. 
  4. ^ "7,500 seen voting in the 99th District". The Evening News. 1980-04-13. 
  5. ^ "Saland sworn, seeks school help". The Evening News. 1980-04-23. 
  6. ^ Epstein, Reid J. "New York gay marriage bill passes". Politico. After weeks of suspense, Stephen Saland, a Poughkeepsie Republican announced himself on the senate floor as the 32nd senator to back the legislation, tipping the balance in favor of it passing. Saland defined his vote as a matter of conscience: "I have defined doing the right thing as treating all persons with equality ... And that quality includes the definition of marriage. I fear that to do otherwise would fly in the face of my upbringing", Saland stated and was joined in announcing his newfound support for gay marriage on the senate floor by Mark Grisanti, a first-term Buffalo Republican who did not declare how he would vote until his floor speech Friday night. 
  7. ^ New York becomes ^th largest state to legalize gay marriage,; accessed August 14, 2014.
  8. ^ "Saland to vote 'yes' on gay marriage". Daily Freeman. Retrieved 3 Oct 2012. 
  9. ^
  10. ^ Hoffman, Allison (June 17, 2011). "Jewish Lawmaker Key to N.Y. Marriage Bill: Scion of prominent rabbinic family has been lobbied by ultra-Orthodox". Tablet Magazine. Archived from the original on June 25, 2011. But he is, according to people familiar with the Agudath campaign, directly related to Shmuel Salant, a prominent rabbi of the late 19th century who served as the Ashkenazic Chief Rabbi of Jerusalem until his death in 1909. The Agudath has, accordingly, sweetened its appeals with references to the lawmaker's family tree—and some enthusiastic supporters in Jerusalem are rumored to have gone so far as to have prayed at Salant's grave in hopes of his intercession in the matter. 
New York Assembly
Preceded by
Emeel S. Betros
New York State Assembly
99th District

Succeeded by
Glenn E. Warren
Preceded by
William J. Larkin, Jr.
New York State Assembly
97th District

Succeeded by
Donald H. McMillen
New York State Senate
Preceded by
Jay P. Rolison, Jr.
New York State Senate
41st District

Succeeded by
Terry Gipson
Preceded by
Eric Schneiderman
New York State Senate
Chairman of the Committee on Codes

Succeeded by
Michael F. Nozzolio