Friday, October 23, 2009

New York Gov. Paterson Believes Marriage Equality to Pass Within Coming Weeks

New York state has seen its share of drama in the senate this past year. The state's marriage equality bill, pushed by Gov. David Paterson, passed the state Assembly back in May, but by the time it advanced the Senate experienced a power coup and the bill lay dormant.

Now that Gov. Paterson is calling yet another special session, he believes it will pass.

The New York Times reports:
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.


Paterson's statements Thursday came at the fall dinner in Manhattan of the influential gay rights group Empire State Pride Agenda. He said New York will have marriage equality ''as a result of a law we will pass in the New York Senate, already passed in the Assembly, and will be signed by the governor, just in the next few weeks.''

The 1,200 people at the dinner cheered Paterson's remarks.

"No longer in New York" will same-sex couples have to worry about insurance coverage, being allowed to visit each other hospitals, or whether they will be guaranteed the same rights as other married couples under law, he said.

Paterson said he's spoken to advocates lobbying senators and "they believe if I put the bill on the calendar, it will pass. ... I believe it will pass."
Here's Paterson's speech thanks to Good As You.

Elizabeth Benjamin of the New York Daily News attended the dinner and reported that Empire State Pride Agenda's Executive Director Alan Van Capelle had harsh words for the Senators, including Tom Duane, the openly gay sponsor of the marriage equality bill.
"Tonight I say the time for making cases is past," Van Capelle said. "The time for petty partisan finger pointing is past. The time for lame excuses, for botched maneuvers and simple, plain old foot dragging is past."

"The time to get this bill to the floor of the New York state Senate is now. The time for the state Senate to acknowledge our existence is now the time for us to hear our lives - our lives! - debated on the floor of the New York state Senate is now."

"Sen. John Sampson, you’re the leader of the state Senate. Sen. Tom Duane, you have told us on multiple occasions that you have the votes to pass this bill. Give us the dignity the rights and the respect we deserve bring this bill to a floor for a debate and a vote. If we win let us celebrate and if we go down we know what we need to do in 2010. Period."


"We have campaigned for you. We have raised money for you we have supported you in every way imaginable, and we should have no patience for these sorry summer soldiers," Van Capelle said.

"Now is not the time for half hearted you must risk yourselves as we risk ourselves every day. We must fight and work for equality as we fight and work for equality every day and if you do not, we can find other friends who will do that job for us and do it better than you."
I feel his frustration. The New York Senate has been ridiculed for its incompetence and puerile behavior, including locking each other out of chambers or holding simultaneous competitive sessions in an effort to gain power.

We have heard numerous times from both Gov. Paterson and Sen. Duane that the bill would pass within a matter of weeks, and then those weeks would pass with no action.

So I guess I'll believe it when I see it.

ACTION: If you're a New Yorker, join Empire State Pride Agenda's action and call your senator and tell them to vote for the marriage equality bill!

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