Wednesday, April 15, 2009

New York Governor to propose legalizing same-sex marriage

This headline from the CNN online ticker surprised me today. David Paterson has stepped into the fray of gay rights marriage and sees, as do I and countless others, that this is akin to passing hate crimes legislation - it is a civil rights issue.

I had thought that the Governor would wait until he had been elected and was safely esconced in Albany for 4 years prior to taking on this hot potato - at least, I read as much last year. Clearly he has taken a calculated risk in coming "out" like this relative to such a highly political issue.

Here is an excerpt from the story: "There is clearly a problem in that those individuals who are gay or lesbian who would live in a civil union are still not entitled to somewhere between 1,250 and 1,300 civil protections" available to married couples, Paterson said. "We would like to try to address that at some point in the near future."

And: "Former Gov. Eliot Spitzer introduced the same bill in 2007. It passed in the Assembly 85-61 but died in the state Senate.

The bill's chief supporter in the Senate, Democratic state Sen. Thomas Duane, said Paterson "knows how hard it is to pass this kind of legislation."

"He worked to try to pass hate crime legislation for many years," Duane said. "I know how strongly the governor feels about this kind of civil rights legislation."
Paterson has previously said he is committed to bringing "full marriage equality in New York State."

"No governor in the history of New York has been at the forefront," said Kellner. "He realizes it is the civil rights movement of the 21st century."
Duane agreed. "I also know that he [Paterson] knows that this will be a defining moment."

I am hopeful that the GLBT community will be able to organize and lobby senators and legislators on this issue so that we can get the bill passed in Albany - Equality is right. I will be in Albany on April 28th for Equality and Justice Day - I encourage my GLBT friends and allies to do the same.

Here is the link to the story:

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