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Thursday, April 16, 2009

Will New York be the 5th State to Allow Same-Sex Marriage?

Just this morning New York Governor David Paterson unveiled legislation that would allow same-sex couples to marry in New York. “Marriage equality is about basic civil rights and freedom. That is why we stand together today to embrace civil rights for every New Yorker.” stated Patterson at today's press conference.“The timing is always right. It’s just a matter of who is willing to take the step, and I am.”

Paterson’s bill would amend the domestic relations law allowing civil marriages between same-sex couples, and he called on the Legislature to approve the bill.

This new bill is similar to the one that the Democratic-controlled state Assembly had passed in 2007, but was later shot down by the Republican majority Senate. And although Democrats now control the Senate, the State Senate Majority Leader stated he did not have the votes to pass marriage equality legislation and will not bring the bill to a vote.

Gov. Paterson has said in recent days that the State Legislature should move ahead now with the bill even if it cannot produce enough votes. His reasoning, which some gay rights advocates have questioned, is that he believes New York should make a statement by showing that they are committed to treating same-sex couples as they do heterosexual couples.

Paterson, accompanied by his wife Michelle, City Council head Christine Quinn, state Sen. Tom Duane and other officials, compared the need for same-sex marriage to the struggle to abolish slavery. “Gay marriage is a crucial issue of equal rights in America that cannot be ignored.” He continued on to say, "For too long, gay and lesbian New Yorkers — we have pretended they have the same rights as their neighbors and friends. That is not the case. All have been the victims of what is a legal system that has systematically discriminated against them."

Both Republicans and religious conservatives have already vowed to defeat the new same-sex legislature. And while Paterson was announcing his new proposal, Sen. Ruben Diaz of the Bronx, also a Democrat, met with religious leaders to discuss how to block the bill.

Diaz, an evangelical pastor, stated that his meeting in the Bronx was to inform Hispanics, Catholics, evangelicals and others who are opposed to same-sex marriage of their options to prevent this bill's passage.

New York City’s new Roman Catholic Archbishop, Timothy Dolan, has already promised to work actively to ensure the same-sex bill never passes.

“You can bet I’ll be active, present and articulate,” said Dolan. “We bishops aren’t into politics, we’re into principles…I won’t shy away from the fact. I realize with gratitude and humility that the pulpit has prominence that takes some getting used to.”

Earlier this month a Quinnipiac University poll was released showing that approximately 41 percent of New York State voters support recognition of same-sex couples, while 33 percent favored civil unions.

So do you think it will be California or New York that becomes the 5th US state to legalize same-sex marriage...I am hoping for a tie!

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