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 includes all of Columbia County and most of Dutchess County. Sen. Saland lost his 2012 re-election bid to Democrat Terry Gipson in a very tight race decided by less than 2,500 votes. Conservative Party challenger Neil Di Carlo, who made a campaign issue of Saland's vote in favor of same-sex marriage, received 17,000 votes and was regarded as a spoiler in the race.
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. He maintains a law practice in Poughkeepsie, where he is of counsel to Gellert & Klein, P.C. He is also a member of the Dutchess County Bar Association and the New York State Bar Association.
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. 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 from the 99th District in a special election following the death of Assemblyman Betros. 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. He was elected in his own right in November 1980, and served in the State Assembly until 1990, when he was elected to the New York State Senate to represent the 41st District.
Saland was the decisive vote on June 24, 2011 for New York's Marriage Equality Act, legalizing same-sex marriage in New York. Saland 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,” Saland said. “And that equality includes the definition of marriage. I fear that to do otherwise would fly in the face of my upbringing.” 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. Saland had previously voted "no" on same-sex marriage in December 2009.
Saland resides in Poughkeepsie with his wife Linda; they have four sons and four grandchildren.
- "Senator Stephen M. Saland (NY)". Project Vote Smart.
- "Stephen M. Saland's Biography". New York State Senate.
- "7,500 seen voting in the 99th District". The Evening News. 1980-04-13.
- "Saland sworn, seeks school help". The Evening News. 1980-04-23.
- 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,” Saland said. “And that equality includes the definition of marriage. I fear that to do otherwise would fly in the face of my upbringing.” Saland 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."
- "Saland to vote 'yes' on gay marriage". Daily Freeman. Retrieved 3 Oct 2012.
- "Gay Marriage Fails, 24-38". Daily News (New York).
- 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 24, 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|
Emeel S. Betros
|New York State Assembly, 99th District
|New York State Assembly, 97th District
|New York State Senate|
|New York State Senate, 41st District
|Chairman of the Senate Committee on Codes