Tuesday, April 14, 2009

ACTION NEEDED: NY Gov. Will Introduce Same-Sex Marriage Bill Thursday

New York Gov. David Patterson announced today that he will introduce same-sex marriage legislation on Thursday at 10am EST, forcing the state House and Senate to take up the issue sooner than expected. (See call to action after jump)

His reasoning, in light of Vermont and Iowa same-sex marriage victories, is that New York should take a stand and commit to treating same-sex couples equally, which some gay rights advocates have challenged due to timing.

With the Governor's approval ratings hitting record lows, many wonder if this is the right time for the legislation. The major roadblock could be in the State Senate, where Senate Majority Leader Malcolm Smith has said that marriage equality advocates are at least a vote or two short.

The New York Times reports:
“'This is not a guarantee of anything,' said Assemblyman Micah Z. Kellner, a Democrat from the Upper East Side who noted that it took two months for legislation legalizing same-sex marriage to get through the Assembly in 2007 before it ultimately stalled. The Senate never acted on the bill.

"The legislation is likely to have an especially bumpy ride in the Senate, where more lawmakers oppose same-sex marriage than support it. Gay rights advocates are now actively seeking more senators, both Democrats and Republicans, to vote for the bill.

"While Mr. Paterson has said he would like to see lawmakers “fight it out” and debate the bill on the floor of both houses even if it fails, Albany tradition dictates that the bill is likely to come to a vote only when it has enough support to pass. Senator Thomas K. Duane, a Democrat and the bill’s chief supporter in the Senate, has said he opposes the governor’s notion of fast-tracking it. And the Senate majority leader, Malcolm A. Smith, has said he would bring the bill to the floor when it has enough support."
As Unite the Fight had earlier reported, the predicament in New York is that many face an irate LGBT support base if they don't see some sort of traction towards marriage equality. However, pro-gay legislators want to do their best by being sure they can actually win such a bill. The governor is now throwing a wrench in their strategy.

The question is, how long were they planning to wait to vote? What work was actually being done on winning over opposing votes? Whatever the answers to those questions are, they're moot. They have to kick it into gear. Something I have always supported.

Whether they're ready or not, they're moving forward. And they're going to need all the help they can get. So what do you do?

Three conservative Democrats oppose same-sex marriage. We need to contact them and request their support.

Senator Ruben Diaz (See history of anti-gay actions here)
1733 East 172nd Street
Bronx, NY 10472
Tel: (718) 991-3161

Senator Carl Kruger
Office of State Senator Carl Kruger
2201 Avenue U
Brooklyn, NY 11229
Tel: (718) 743-8610

Sen. Pedro Espada Jr.
33rd District
State Capital, Room 420
Albany, NY 12247
Phone: 518-455-3395
Fax: 518-426-6858

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