Today’s vote against Marriage Equality makes me very angry. Promises made were not honored. The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) community, and all fair-minded New Yorkers have been betrayed. I am enraged, deeply disappointed and profoundly saddened by the vote today.Within hours of yesterday's devastating vote, 200 to 300 protesters crowded into Times Square despite the cold rain to voice their disappointment with the Senate's failure to stand up for civil rights.
In 2006, when the New York State Court of Appeals shamefully ruled that the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) community did not have equal protection under the law in relation to Marriage Equality, I predicted that passing legislation to right this wrong in the State Senate would be a profound personal and sadly political battle.
I have been proven right.
Yet there is an irony in today’s vote. Five years ago no one would have predicted that a vote would even be possible in the Senate. Today, on the floor of the Senate, we had an open and honest debate about the indignity of denying Marriage Equality to thousands of New York’s LGBT citizens. We heard stories of family members and friends who have suffered merely because they are gay. Only one Senator, who opposed marriage, spoke on behalf of that position. Again, an honest debate of which only one side, sadly not the winning side, represented justice and equality.
Now that this discussion has started in the Senate, it cannot be stopped. We will see Marriage Equality pass in New York. Yes, not today, but in the near future -- openly and with bi-partisan support.
I want to applaud those friends and advocates in the LGBT community who insisted on a vote, regardless of the outcome. This was very brave and it was the right thing to do. I was honored to bring the bill to the floor of the Senate, for an up or down vote, with their support.
Today also brought home the fact that the State Senate must maintain a Democratic majority– and in even greater numbers. It was only under Democratic leadership that this vote was possible. We must also have a Governor willing to sign marriage equality into law.
Most importantly I am grateful to all my Democratic colleagues who spoke so eloquently in favor of marriage equality and all those who voted in the affirmative. I also believe in redemption, even for State Senators who need that chance.
I am confident that we will win the fight for marriage equality in New York State.
Blabbeando blogger Andres Duque has done a great post with amazing photos covering the protest, one of which I posted here. Blogger Joe.My.God was also there, voicing in particular his disdain for Democratic senators Hiram Monserrate, who at one point said he would vote for marriage equality, and Ruben Diaz, who has a long history of outright bigotry. Andrew Towle reports on the most "heinous defector."
Another rally is scheduled tonight in Union Square.
Reporter Rex Wockner has written a piece on yesterday's vote and the impact it has had.
Image by Andres Duque