One of the most fascinating aspects of the New York legislature's vote to allow gay marriage, passed extraordinarily enough with the backing of Republicans, is the role played by Wall Street. In what has to be the least expected of developments, it turned out that hedge funds were absolutely critical in getting the landmark legislation over the line. It wouldn't have happened without them.
Michael Barbaro in the New York Times explains it thus: "In the 35th-floor conference room of a Manhattan high-rise, two of Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo's most trusted advisers held a secret meeting a few weeks ago with a group of super-rich Republican donors … But the donors in the room – the billionaire Paul Singer, whose son is gay, joined by the hedge fund managers Cliff Asness and Daniel Loeb – had the influence and the money to insulate nervous senators from conservative backlash if they supported the marriage measure. And they were inclined to see the issue as one of personal freedom, consistent with their more libertarian views. Within days, the wealthy Republicans sent back word: They were on board. Each of them cut six-figure checks to the lobbying campaign that eventually totaled more than $1 million."
In other words, Wall Street financiers collectively donated at least $1 million in the last few weeks to pro-gay marriage lobbying campaigns. Talk about unlikely allies.