Previous marriage equality bill passed the State Assembly, not the State Senate
WASHINGTON - The Human Rights Campaign, the nation's largest lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender civil rights organization, applauded New York Governor David Paterson for introducing marriage equality legislation that would recognize marriage equality for same-sex couples under state law. In 2007, pro-marriage equality legislation passed the state assembly but was blocked in the state senate.
"The introduction of marriage equality legislation is a strong statement by Governor Paterson and we applaud him for standing today in support of all loving and committed couples throughout New York," said Human Rights Campaign President Joe Solmonese. "We are committed to doing the hard work needed to secure enough votes in the Senate and will stand side by side with Empire State Pride Agenda, Marriage Equality New York, and supporters throughout the state to win marriage equality in New York in this legislative session."
HRC's New York leadership is currently working with coalition partners to put a face on same-sex couples in loving and committed relationships who are being denied access to full marriage equality. Through letter writing campaigns, visits with legislators and conversations with friends, family, and neighbors, HRC and its membership in the state are engaged in an active effort to demonstrate the clear need for all couples in loving and committed relationships to have the right to marry.
In the 2008 election season, HRC worked to elect three fair-minded senate candidates in the New York state Senate, including Brian Foley (SD-03) Joe Addabbo (SD-15) Jim Gennaro (SD-11), helping to change control of the Senate. In addition, HRC trained more than 50 people in it's Camp Equalityﾻ election skills training held on Long Island. In all, HRC New York PAC contributed over $120,000 and had two field staffers, plus a campaign college staffer on the ground. After the elections, HRC teamed with Marriage Equality New York to host a post-election forum to discuss marriage equality in New York state. HRC National Field Director Marty Rouse participated in that forum.
In January of 2007, HRC helped elect Senator Craig Johnson on Long Island in a special election. The election was considered the tipping point for the Democratic takeover of the New York State Senate, as the seat was held by Republicans for over 100 years. HRC sent Regional Field Director Sultan Shakir and another staffer to the district to help increase fair-minded turnout in the district, resulting in a 54 to 46 win for Johnson.
The New York State Assembly voted in June of 2007, 85-61, in favor of a marriage equality bill. That bill stalled in the Senate, which at the time was controlled by opponents of equality. In last November's election, control of the Senate changed hands and Senator Malcolm Smith, a supporter of marriage equality, was chosen as Majority Leader and Senate President Pro Tem.
In 2006 the New York Court of Appeals ruled against marriage equality, expressly stating that it should be resolved by the legislature.
Read morecomments fromGov. Paterson and other supporters of marriage equality in New York atHRC's Back Story blog.
The Human Rights Campaign is America's largest civil rights organization working to achieve lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality. By inspiring and engaging all Americans, HRC strives to end discrimination against LGBT citizens and realize a nation that achieves fundamental fairness and equality for all.
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