Malcolm Smith Sworn In As New York State Senate President and Majority Leader

by HRC Staff

HRC Congratulates Sen. Smith, Who Recently Re-Affirmed His Support for Marriage Equality.

WASHINGTON - Following two months of negotiations, New York's State Senate Democrats have chosen Senator Malcolm Smith to lead the new majority that Democrats won last November. Last November's election gave Democrats a 32-30 majority in the chamber.

The Human Rights Campaign, the nation's largest lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender civil rights organization, issued the following statement today with regard to Senator Smith's swearing in as Senate President and Majority Leader.

"The Human Rights Campaign congratulates Senator Smith, who 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 further congratulate Sen. Smith for refusing to make anyone's civil rights a bargaining chip in negotiations over leadership of the Senate. We look forward to Sen. Smith leading a new Senate that makes equal rights a reality for all New Yorkers, and, as we have said before, HRC is committed to continuing to working 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."

During the leadership negotiations that followed last November's election, there were reports that Sen. Smith was being pressured to agree that the Senate would not vote on a marriage equality bill this year. HRC members and other supporters of equality sent thousands of email messages to Sen. Smith urging him to reaffirm his support marriage equality. In the end, Sen. Smith reaffirmed his support for marriage equality, and it has been reported that no policy issues were resolved as part of the deal that led to Sen. Smith's instatement as Senate President and Majority Leader.

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.

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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