The National Center for Lesbian Rights Disappointed in New York Senate Vote Rejecting Marriage for Same-Sex Couples

December 2, 2009

Today, in a 38-24 vote, the New York State Senate failed to pass a bill which would have extended the right to marry to same-sex couples.

As Lisa Keen of Keen News Service reported in the Bay Area Reporter, Senator Bill Perkins, an African American Democrat from Harlem, addressed the bill’s openly gay sponsor, Tom Duane (D-Manhattan), by saying “Thank you, brother.” Then he turned to the galley where marriage equality supporters sat watching the debate and said, “Thank you, movement—thank you for your vigilance and your push to get us where we are today.” Regardless of the outcome of the vote, said Perkins, change is coming “and I can see Dr. Martin Luther King smiling down on us today—recognizing that his sacrifice was not in vain.”

Statement from Kate Kendell, Executive Director of the National Center for Lesbian Rights:

“The vote today in the New York Senate is a heartbreaker. To see justice denied yet again is crushing. But we cannot be down for long. The lessons of every human rights movement teach us that setbacks and dark days are always the risk in fighting for equality and justice. We applaud the courage of Senator Tom Duane, sponsor of the bill and of the 24 Senators who stood for equality, fairness, and love. Their names will be remembered and so will their votes. The time is long past for those who reject our basic dignity and value to do so without consequence. The votes of those who affirmed our equality and humanity will be vindicated, of that we can be certain.”

Keep the Pressure on for Marriage Equality in New York

December 2, 2009

from Christine C. Quinn, Speaker, New York City Council

This is it.  The Marriage Equality Act is being debated on the floor of the New York State Senate.  (You can watch it live here.)

We’ve been waiting for this day for a long time, and it’s my hope that a majority of our senators in Albany will make the right decision and cast their votes for marriage equality.

Right now, I’m in Albany after having met with senators on both sides of the fence – and I can report that our leaders in the Senate are working very hard to get the votes.  Governor David Paterson, Senator Tom Duane, Assemblymember Danny O’Donnell and every one of our allies in Albany deserve our appreciation for getting us this far.

We need to keep pushing, though.  Please call or write your state senator and urge them to vote for this bill.  You can find contact information for your NY state senator here.

It’s my hope that marriage equality will soon be looked back upon as a great accomplishment that all New Yorkers achieved together.

NY Lawmakers Set for Final Vote on Gay Marriage

December 2, 2009

from the Associated Press

New York’s Senate will take a long-awaited vote on a bill to legalize gay marriage.

But the outcome of the vote Wednesday that could give final legislative approval to the measure remains in doubt.

The bill will need 32 votes to pass. And Democratic Sen. Liz Krueger, a leader in the majority, says the measure will need Republican votes because of opposition from some of the chamber’s 32 Democrats.

read more

Gay Marriage Momentum Stalls in Liberal NY, NJ

November 30, 2009

by Geoff Mulvihill | Associated Press

The state-to-state march to legalize gay marriage across the left-leaning Northeast has lost more momentum since a major setback three weeks ago at the ballot box in Maine.

Since then, legislatures in New York and New Jersey have failed to schedule long-expected votes on bills to recognize the unions in those states.

“If they are unable to pass gay marriage in New York and New Jersey, combined with the loss in Maine, it will confirm that gay marriage is not the inevitable wave of the future,” said Maggie Gallagher, president of the National Organization for Marriage, which mobilizes social conservatives to fight against same-sex marriage.

Gay rights activists insist that’s not the case and say hope is still alive.

read more

Court Upholds Recognition of Gay Marriages in Narrow Ruling

November 19, 2009

by Danny Hakim | New York Times

New York State’s highest court rejected unanimously a challenge on Thursday by opponents of same-sex marriage to policies that recognize such unions performed in other states, though the decision gave gay advocates a small victory because it was narrowly written and applied to a relatively small number of people.

In their majority ruling, four of the seven members of the court said they were making their decision on narrow grounds involving the specifics of each case, and not settling the broader question of whether same-sex marriages performed in other states should be recognized. Judge Eugene F. Pigott Jr., writing for the majority, expressed “hope that the Legislature will address this controversy.”

read more

Paterson Calls for Action on Same-Sex Marriage During Budget Crisis Address to Legislature

November 10, 2009

by Michael Gormley | Los Angeles Times

LA Times 11909

Gov. David Paterson speaks to a joint session of the Legislature at the Capitol in Albany, N.Y., Monday, Nov. 9, 2009. Photo by AP/Mike Groll.

Gov. David Paterson on Monday urged lawmakers to legalize same-sex marriage in New York, calling it “an issue that touches on the very core of our citizenship.”

read more

Governor Paterson Calls for Nov. 10 Vote on Marriage Equality Bill – Call Your Senator

November 5, 2009
Statement by Empire State Pride Agenda Executive Director Alan Van Capelle

November 5, 2009–“Marriage equality has been an issue Governor Paterson has long championed and we are thrilled he has called the State Senate back to Albany next Tuesday and put the marriage equality bill on the agenda. We now expect that we will get the respectful debate and vote that we’ve been waiting for since June.

There is never a wrong time or inconvenient time to debate human rights legislation because it’s always the right time. As long as a group of New Yorkers are being denied equal rights, addressing issues like marriage equality must always be a priority. Support for providing equal rights to LGBT New Yorkers has always been bipartisan, and we expect that this bill will be no different.

We look forward to hearing our lives and our families debated on the Senate floor next Tuesday. It’s now time that each of the 62 State Senators vote their conscience on this bill that has great implications for hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers in all parts of the state.”


We now need to make sure that the State Senate takes action on the marriage equality bill when they return on Tuesday. It is time for the State Senate to give the marriage bill the respectful debate and vote that New Yorkers have been asking for since the Assembly passed the bill in May. We’ve waited long enough.

Now more than ever it is important that you call your State Senator and tell them that you expect a vote on marriage equality when they return to Albany. Let your Senator know that you’re done waiting. The time is now for all families in New York to be treated equally.

You can be easily connected to your State Senator by clicking here. In a few clicks of a mouse, you will be patched through to the office of your State Senator.

(thanks for the tip Rex Wockner)

Six Tests for Equality and Fairness

November 2, 2009

New York Times editorial

Political battles this fall in six different parts of the country could have a profound impact on whether the United States will extend the promise of equal rights to those who are not allowed to marry simply because they are the same sex as their partner.

Three jurisdictions — New York, New Jersey and the District of Columbia — seem tantalizingly close to securing legislative approval for measures ending the hurtful and unjustifiable exclusion of same-sex couples from civil marriage. But in Maine, Washington State and Kalamazoo, Mich., voters are being asked on Tuesday to strip away vital rights and protections.

read more

‘Golden Girls’ Star Bea Arthur Leaves $300,000 in Will to NY Group That Helps Gay Homeless Youths

October 27, 2009

from New York Daily News

Bea Arthur

Bea Arthur

Bea Arthur left $300,000 in her will to a New York organization that aids homeless gay youth.

The Ali Fornay Center provides services to more than 1,000 each year, and is planning to buy a building to house 12 young people – and name it in honor of the “Golden Girls” actress.

read more

learn more about NCLR’s planned giving program

Paterson Says Gay Marriage Bill Will Pass in NY, Predicts Senate Approval in Coming Weeks

October 23, 2009

by Michael Gormley | Los Angeles Times

New York Gov. David Paterson said Thursday that he expects to sign a same-sex marriage bill into law in the coming weeks.

Paterson said he expects the state Senate to give the measure final legislative approval in weeks ahead and then he will sign it, making New York the seventh state to legalize same-sex marriage. Paterson can’t force the Senate to take up the bill and admitted to reporters he can’t guarantee its approval, but he says he’s now confident it will pass, as advocates and sponsors of the bill in Albany have been quietly working to build support.

read more


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