HRC congratulates Sen. Smith Calls on him to affirm support for marriage equality
WASHINGTON - The Human Rights Campaign, the nation's largest lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender civil rights organization, issued the following statement today following reports that State Senator Malcolm Smith has secured the votes needed to make him President of the New York State Senate, the Human Rights Campaign congratulated Senator Smith and asked him to confirm his support for bringing a marriage equality bill to a vote in the Senate.
"Senator Smith is a long-time, strong advocate for full equality for all New Yorkers, including the LGBT community," said Human Rights Campaign President Joe Solmonese. "We are confident that he will continue his strong record of support as Senate President. One crucial step on the road to full equality for the LGBT community is, of course, marriage equality. Since there have been rumors about how the marriage equality bill may, or may not, move ahead next year, I call on Senator Smith to make clear that, when the votes are there in the Senate, he will bring the marriage bill up for a vote."
"We agree with the Empire State Pride Agenda that no one's civil rights should be a bargaining chip in any political leadership battle. The task for those of us who support equality will be to work to secure enough votes for marriage equality in the Senate. We are committed to continuing to work aggressively with Empire State Pride Agenda, Marriage Equality New York, and supporters of equality throughout the state to win marriage equality in New York in this coming legislative session," continued Solmonese.
In response to this recent development, State Senator Tom Duane said, "This is an historic moment for New York State. Malcolm Smith and the new Democratic majority will achieve great things for the LGBT community. The fight for and victory of full equality could not be in better hands than those of Malcolm Smith."
In June 2007, the New York State Assembly voted 85-61 in favor of a marriage equality bill. That bill stalled under the Senate, which at the time was controlled by opponents of equality. In this November's election, control of the Senate changed hands and Senator Smith, a supporter of marriage equality, is now set to become Senate President.
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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